Arizona Supreme Court upholds 1864 law that criminalises most abortions

Arizona Supreme Court upholds 1864 law that criminalises most abortions


Legal battle over Arizona’s historic abortion law resurfaces. — Reuters

The Arizona Supreme Court’s recent decision has paved the way for the enforcement of an 1864 law that almost criminalises all abortions with the only exception being if the mother is in danger of dying.

This deliberation on Tuesday revisited the validity of a law implemented before Arizona statehood that allows abortion only in cases of life-threatening conditions for the mother. 

The court was approached following a challenge against a decision by the state Court of Appeals in 2022, which prohibited the prosecution of doctors who had done abortions within the first 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Previously, the 1864 law enforcement was put on hold following the Roe v. Wade (1973) landmark US Supreme Court decision, which stated that a woman had a constitutional right to procure an abortion. Arizona’s Attorney General helped in getting the injunction of the law’s prohibition lifted following the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022.

The ruling, condemned by Democratic Attorney General Kris Mayes as being regressive, coincides with a broader trend of red states enacting ever more restrictive abortion regulations after Roe. 

Birth control lawsuits, however, continue despite the fact that 14 states ban abortions at any point during pregnancy. The others restrict abortion at about six weeks when cardiac activity is detected.

In response to the ruling, President Joe Biden does not sympathise with the Arizona law; and he believes that reproductive rights should be protected. 

At the same time, however, his successor, former Governor Doug Ducey, expressed doubts, noting that he had supported the 15-week ban on abortions before.



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