Abortion, Arizona State Supreme Court Building

Arizona Supreme Court Upholds 1864 Law Banning Most Abortions

America...America has a problem!

Arizona’s Supreme Court has ruled to uphold a 160-year-old law to prohibit almost all abortions in the state. 

The law, dating back to 1864, will make performing an abortion a felony punishable by two to five years in prison for anyone who performs or helps a person obtain one – unless with the exception of “when it is necessary” to save a pregnant person’s life.

In a 4-2 decision on Apr. 9, the high court looked past arguments that the current 15-week abortion ban should stay in place. Instead, judges enforced the Civil War-era law – before women could vote – to be passed. The court also ruled to lift a stay on the law, as it won’t go into effect until Apr. 23. 

With the ruling, Arizona is now added to a list of 16 other states where abortion is effectively banned. However, the state justices sent the case back to a lower trial court in order to sort through questions regarding the law’s constitutionality. 

Democratic state Attorney General Kris Mayes said the law puts the lives of Arizonans at risk. “The decision made by the Arizona Supreme Court today is unconscionable and an affront to freedom,” Mayes said. 

“Make no mistake, by effectively striking down a law passed this century and replacing it with one from 160 years ago, the Court has risked the health and lives of Arizonans.”  

The law would ultimately affect the remaining abortion clinics in the state, forcing people who are seeking abortions to travel hundreds of miles away for abortions in California. 

Following the ruling, Vice President Kamala Harris released a video condemning the new legislation, saying, “It doesn’t have to be this way.”

“Understand to stop bans like this, we need a United States Congress that will restore the protections of Roe v. Wade. And when they do, President Joe Biden will sign it into law,” she said.

She is planning to travel to Tucson on Apr. 12 for her “Fight for Reproductive Freedoms” rally, where, according to ABC News, Harris plans to push blame on former President Donald Trump for his role in the 2022 overturning of the legislation. Trump appointed three of the justices who voted to restrict national guarantees to abortion access. 

Biden shared similar sentiments, blasting Arizona’s ban. In a statement, he called the restrictions a failure to “protect women when their health is at risk or in cases of rape or incest.” “And it’s back because of Republican elected officials committed to ripping away women’s freedom,” he wrote on Twitter. 

After celebrating Roe v. Wade’s ruling, GOP lawmakers seem to be jumping the line to opposing Arizona’s ban. Rep. Juan Ciscomani called Tuesday’s ruling “a disaster for women and providers” – after confirming his support of a 15-week preexisting prohibition.

“In Arizona, our 15-week law protected the rights of women and new life. It respected women and the difficult decision of ending a pregnancy – one I will never personally experience and won’t pretend to understand,” Ciscomani said. 

“I oppose a national abortion ban. The territorial law is archaic. We must do better for women and I call on our state policymakers to immediately address this in a bipartisan manner.”

Pima County Attorney Laura Conover thinks the ruling confuses physicians about whether or not they will be arrested for performing abortions. However, Gov. Katie Hobbs and Mayes said they do not plan on prosecuting any abortion providers under the new legislation.