The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that abortion will soon be illegal in the state under nearly all circumstances.

is abortion legal in arizona

The Arizona Supreme Court left in place the 160-year-old abortion ban that could shut down abortion clinics in the state.

The ruling stated that the ban can only be “prospectively enforced” and the enforcement of the law is stayed for 14 days. It is already creating political disturbances.

The pre-statehood law prescribes terms of imprisonment for up to five years for the persons aiding an abortion unless the abortion is necessary for saving the life of a mother. Enforcement would spell the death of legal abortions in Arizona. A law from the same year stipulating that a woman who procures an abortion be imprisoned for at least a year was abolished in 2021.

According to reproductive rigths activists, it means that Arizona women should be ready for health complications.

The law is not certain as to how, or if, it will be enforced. Last year, Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs issued an executive order that vests all power to enforce abortion laws in the office of the state attorney general. The present attorney general, a Democrat Kris Mayes, has promised not to make or enforce any anti-choice laws. However, her determination and Hobbs’ order could be contested by one of the attorneys of the counties in the state.

A possible immediate result is an increase in the potential of a ballot measure that is already being worked on for the current year. Advocates argue they have as of now managed to gather over 500,000 signatures, which is way higher than the 383,923 signatures needed by the early July deadline.

The state Supreme Court’s ruling puts a stark choice before voters: Choose the new reproductive rights measure or else the abortion policy will go back to the 19th century.

This binary choice and an expected rise in Democratic turnout because of the ballot initiative could also have an impact on state legislative races or other offices.

The abortion ban that was first put into Arizona’s law in 1864 has been waiting to be effective again for 160 years.

The first recorded in the 1864 Howell Code, a book of laws as compiled by Arizona’s First Territorial Legislature, the states abortion ban was typical to those of many states. It was implemented aggressively in Arizona until the Roe v. Wade decision.

In 1971, Planned Parenthood of Tucson went to the court to have the old ban overthrown. The group was defeated in 1973 when the state Court of Appeals decided in favour of the opponents. But the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision in the same year, and the Washington State Court of Appeals then issued an injunction against the pre-statehood ban.

For almost 50 years, legal abortions were a reality in the US, until the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling in June 2022 which got rid of the Roe protections.

The 1973 injunction is rooted in a liberal U.S. Supreme Court decision which is to change the rules that the Republican politicians are asking the courts. The new suit served to re-light Planned Parenthood’s 1971 court battle.

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