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Arizona Supreme Court further restricts abortion, enforcing near-total ban

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(PHOENIX, Ariz.) — The Arizona Supreme Court has allowed a near-total abortion ban from 1864 to go into effect, only permitting care to save the life of the mother. The decision further restricts abortion in the state where a 15-week ban was in effect.

However, the court will allow a temporary block of the near-total ban while the trial court decides how to proceed.

The court found that protections for abortion rights in the state rested “entirely” on Roe v. Wade, which allowed federal protections for the right to abortion. Since Roe has been overturned, the court found that it could begin enforcing a state statute prohibiting nearly all abortions.

Anyone found guilty of violating the ban will face two to five years in state prison.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes. a Democrat, immediately came out against the ruling, saying “no woman or doctor will be prosecuted under this draconian law in this state.”

“The decision made by the Arizona Supreme Court today is unconscionable and an affront to freedom,” she said in a statement. “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 ruling came as part of a lawsuit over whether the 1864 ban could be reinstated. The court also sent a legal challenge against the abortion ban back to trial court.

In a dissenting opinion, one of the justices found that “the majority mistakenly returns us to the territorial-era abortion statute last operative in 1973,” Justice Ann Timmer wrote.

“I would leave it to the people and the legislature to determine Arizona’s course in the wake of Roe’s demise,” Timmer added. “With great respect for my colleagues, I dissent.”
 

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