State of Arizona reactivates 1864 law and prohibits abortion

The state of Arizona has reactivated an 1864 law that prohibits abortion in virtually all cases. The state Supreme Court decided this Tuesday (9) to return the law after voting by four votes against two.

The 160-year-old law criminalizes all types of abortion, except when the mother’s life is at risk. The text does not include exceptions for cases of rape or other risks, such as fetal malformation.

The law was reactivated after the US Supreme Court overturned the ‘Roe against Wade’ law, which guaranteed the right to abortion nationally, in June 2022. As a result, each state began to establish its own laws on the subject.

With the decision taken by the Arizona Supreme Court, made up of seven judges appointed by Republican governors, the 1864 law “returns to be applicable”. The court is made up of five men and two women.

According to the judges, the state can reapply the law in 14 days. The right to abortion in Arizona was prohibited from 15 weeks of pregnancy, according to a law enacted in 2022 by Republican Doug Ducey, governor who preceded Katie Hobbs, who currently holds the position.

Reacting to the return of the 1864 law, President Joe Biden said millions of Arizonans will soon live under an even more extreme and dangerous abortion ban.

“This decision is the result of the extreme agenda of Republican elected officials who are committed to taking away women’s freedoms,” the US president said in a statement.
Arizona Attorney General Kristin Mayes called the ruling “unconscionable and an outrage on liberty” and that “the state court put the health and lives of Arizona women at risk.” Kristin also emphasized that while in office, she would not prosecute any doctor or woman who performs an abortion under the law, which she called “draconian.”

“Today’s decision to reintroduce a law from a time when Arizona was not a state, the Civil War was raging and women were not even allowed to vote will go down in history as a stain on our state,” said the attorney general, who is a Democrat.
Chief Justice John Lopez said the law was revised because it reflected the will of the people and that, to date, the state legislature “has never affirmatively created a right to elective abortion.”

“We defer, as we are constitutionally required to do, to the judgment of the legislature, which is responsible to, and therefore reflects, the changing will of our citizens,” Lopez wrote.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruling comes a day after Trump said limits on abortion should be left up to the states and refused to endorse a national ban after months of dodging the issue.