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Arizona Supreme Court rules abortion ban from 1864 can be enforced

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a 160-year-old abortion ban can be applied, paving the way for a ban on nearly all abortions in the state.

The 1864 ban only has exceptions to save the mother’s life, but none in cases of rape or incest.

Old law replaces Arizona’s Ban on abortion for 15 weeks, which was adopted by the legislature and signed in 2022 by the then-Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican. The 2022 ban included exceptions for medical emergencies and restrictions on medical abortion, and requires an ultrasound before an abortion and parental consent for minors. But the 15-week ban did not repeal the 1864 law, the state Supreme Court ruled, and “rests entirely on the existence of a federal constitutional right to abortion,” which was invalidated by law. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision by the United States Supreme Court in 2022.

“In the absence of the federal constitutional right to abortion, and because (the 15-week abortion ban) does not authorize abortion independently, there is no provision in the law federal or state banning the operation (of the 1864 abortion ban). Accordingly, (the 1864 ban) is now enforceable,” wrote Arizona Supreme Court Justice John Lopez , in his opinion.

The Arizona Supreme Court has concluded that abortion policy is an issue that must be decided either by the Legislature or by citizens through the ballot initiative process. The court said it would not “make this important political decision because such judgments are reserved for our citizens.”

“(We) are simply following our limited constitutional role and duty to interpret the law as it is written,” Lopez wrote.

The court also suspended enforcement of the 1864 ban for 14 days, to allow the parties to return to the trial court to pursue other issues in the case. Beyond the stay, there is also a deferred execution agreement signed by former Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich that effectively extends the stay for an additional 45 days beyond the 14-day period.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, issued a statement Tuesday calling the decision “unconscionable and an affront to liberty” and said that “as long as I am attorney general, no woman or doctor will not be prosecuted under this draconian law in this state.” “.

The law states that “any person who furnishes, supplies or administers to a pregnant woman, or induces that woman to take any medicine, drug or substance, or uses or employs any instrument or other means whatsoever, with intent thereby causing a miscarriage” such woman, unless it is necessary to save her life, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of not less than two years and at most five years.

The Planned Parenthood Arizona location in Tempe, Arizona, is seen June 30, 2022.

Matt York/AP

This is from before Arizona became a state.

The move has already drawn criticism from Democrats and Republicans.

“I signed the 15-week law as governor because it is a thoughtful conservative policy and an approach to this very sensitive issue that Arizonans can actually agree on. “Today is not the outcome I would have preferred, and I call on our elected leaders to heed the will of the people and resolve this issue with a policy that is workable and reflects our electorate,” said Doug Ducey, former Republican governor of Arizona, on

Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake released a statement opposing the decision and called on Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs and the state legislature “to find an immediate, common-sense solution that Arizonans can support.” . Lake’s statement shows how sensitive the issue has become for Republicans, since Lake had in the past called abortion the “ultimate sin” and when Texas passed its restrictive abortion law, Lake issued on social networks “well done Texas. Arizona is next. ”

Her opponent, Sen. Ruben Gallego, called the decision “devastating for Arizona women and their families” and sought to tie the decision to Lake and Republicans.

Efforts are currently underway to enshrine the right to abortion in the Arizona state constitution. Arizona for access to abortion announced last week that they had enough signatures to put their amendment on the ballot.

“And so you know, voters have the opportunity to correct that and you’ve seen in every state since Dobbs that when voters have the opportunity to give their opinion, they vote in favor of abortion,” Jill said Habig, president of the Public Rights Project, which represented one of the parties in Tuesday’s ruling, told CBS News. “But in the meantime, tens of thousands of people who are pregnant or about to become pregnant will either have to drive, fly, or get sick to receive care, and their health will be at great risk.”

The Arizona decision follows a Florida Supreme Court decision allowing a six-week abortion ban to take effect and highlights the increased politicization of abortion rights since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, sending the issue back to court. States.

President Biden’s re-election campaign has already denounced the move, as his campaign has pushed to make abortion rights a central part of their administration and re-election bid.

In response to the decision, the Biden campaign posted on X that it was “made possible by the end of Roe v. Wade by Trump,” a reference to former President Donald Trump placing three conservative justices on the Supreme Court during his presidency.

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With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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