Arizona Supreme Court Upholds 1864 Law Protecting Unborn Babies From Abortion In Nearly All Cases
Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, USA
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The Arizona Supreme Court came down with a major abortion ruling on Tuesday, upholding a law passed in 1864 that outlaws all abortions in the state except when the mother’s life is at risk.

The case made its way to the state’s highest court after an appeals court ruled in December 2022 that doctors could not be prosecuted under the 160-year-old abortion ban that went into effect before Arizona was a state. The state Supreme Court ruled 4-2 that the law “is now enforceable” and can take effect in 14 days pending any additional legal challenges, The New York Times reported. The law mandates that anyone who aids an abortion, except in the case of saving the mother’s life, be punished by two to five years in prison, AZ Central reported.

Former Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, signed a 15-week limit into law in 2022, which came just three months before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, opening the door for states to enact their own limitations or bans on abortion.

“We celebrate this enormous victory for unborn children and their mothers. Reinstating Arizona’s pro-life law will protect more than 11,000 babies annually at all stages of pregnancy while providing an exception for the life of the mother,” Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement. “This includes babies who have heartbeats, babies who can feel pain, and babies who can smile and suck their thumbs. Today’s state Supreme Court decision is a major advancement in the fight for life in Arizona.”

Last year, Arizona Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs signed an executive order giving the state’s attorney general, who is currently a Democrat, the power to enforce abortion laws. Attorney General Kris Mayes has vowed not to enforce any limitations or bans on abortion and said shortly after the state Supreme Court ruling that its decision is “an affront to freedom.”

“The Court has risked the health and lives of Arizonans,” Mayes said. “Today’s decision to reimpose a law from a time when Arizona wasn’t a state, the Civil War was raging, and women couldn’t even vote will go down in history as a stain on our state.”

Hobbs also said the decision represents “a dark day in Arizona” and vowed that she “won’t stop fighting until we have secured the right to abortion.”

Shortly after the abortion decision, Arizona Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake released a statement saying she opposed the state Supreme Court’s ruling and called on the governor and legislature “to come up with an immediate common sense solution that Arizonans can support.”

Democrats are already using the ruling to pit their pro-abortion policies against what they describe as “extreme abortion laws” in some states. The Biden campaign posted on X showing side-by-side videos of Trump’s Monday statement on abortion — in which the former president said laws should be left up to the states — with an MSNBC report of the Arizona Supreme Court ruling. The Biden campaign said the 160-year-old abortion law “is now enforceable because Trump ended Roe.”

Trump released a video statement on Monday morning where he came out against federal limitations on abortion and said the issue should be left up to the states.

“My view is now that we have abortion where everybody wanted it from a legal standpoint, the states will determine by vote or legislation or perhaps both, and whatever they decide must be the law of the land. In this case, the law of the state,” Trump said.


“At the end of the day, this is about the will of the people,” Trump said, adding later, “You must follow your heart on this issue, but remember: you must also win elections to restore our culture and, in fact, to save our country.”

Democrats and pro-abortion advocates have been pushing for an abortion measure as they seek to make abortion an unrestricted practice and allow doctors to perform the procedure at any point of a pregnancy. Those pushing for pro-abortion policies say the initiative has already received enough signatures to appear on the November ballot.

Arizona, a vital battleground state in the 2024 election, has been polling in Trump’s direction as the former president focuses on immigration and the border crisis. As of Tuesday afternoon, Trump leads Biden by 4.5 points in Arizona, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.

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