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Wednesday May 29, 2024

Arizona Supreme Court upholds 160-year-old abortion ban

Arizona's top court revives 160-year-old abortion law, paving the way for strict enforcement

By Web Desk
April 10, 2024
Arizona moves to enforce old abbortion law. — AFP File
Arizona moves to enforce old abbortion law. — AFP File

Abortions will remain banned in Arizona in most cases, according to the new ruling of the state's top court. 

Arizona's Supreme Court has ruled that the state must adhere to a law dating back 160 years regarding abortion. The 1864 law essentially outlaws abortion except in cases where it is deemed necessary to save the pregnant person's life.

The majority opinion was penned by Justice John R. Lopez IV.

With the federal constitutional right to abortion no longer upheld, Arizona's near-total ban is back in the spotlight, prompting impassioned responses from both sides. The abortion clinics will face closure across the state after this law.

Angela Florez, the head of Planned Parenthood Arizona, described it as a "dark day for Arizona".

The law, originating from the Civil War era and officially codified in 1901, imposes strict penalties, including prison sentences, for abortion providers. 

Arizona, after the ruling, is among a handful of states with the most stringent abortion laws, like Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi.

The law gives a prison sentence of two to five years for anyone assisting with an abortion unless it is to save the mother's life.

Arizona's Attorney General Kris Mayes has said that no prosecutions will occur under this law, referring to its outdated nature.

The 4-2 ruling follows renewed legal battles prompted by the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022.

Critics of the decision, including Arizona Senator Eva Burch, warned of the potential repercussions for healthcare providers and patients alike. Dr Jill Gibson of Planned Parenthood Arizona repeated the similar concerns, underscoring the need for medical professionals to operate without fear of legal consequences.