Arizona Supreme Court Renews Strict Civil War-Era Abortion Ban

( – Arizona became a state in 1912. Long before that happened, in 1864, when it was just a territory, it passed a law banning abortions. The law was codified in 1901. Now, the state Supreme Court has allowed that law to take effect.

On April 9, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled the state must enforce its 160-year-old abortion ban. The only exception to the ban is in cases where the procedure is necessary to save the life of a mother. Abortion providers face two to five years in prison if they terminate a pregnancy.

The decision reversed a lower court’s ruling that doctors could not face criminal charges for performing abortions in the first 15 weeks of a woman’s pregnancy. The justices stated the law won’t go into effect for 14 days, giving the state time to appeal the ruling.

A reporter asked former President Donald Trump what he thought about the decision. He said the ruling went too far and predicted the Arizona governor would “bring it back into reason.”

The former president’s prediction didn’t appear to be panning out. The same day Trump made the comment, Arizona House Democrats and one Republican tried to open a discussion about a proposed repeal of the 1864 ban. GOP leaders, who hold the majority, quickly shut the lawmakers down and adjourned for the week. Democrats erupted and began chanting, “Shame! Shame!”

Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs lashed out at House Republicans, saying a “protected a Civil War-era total abortion ban that jails doctors, strips women” of their autonomy, puts their lives at risk. Republican state Rep. Matt Gress, the lawmaker who tried to open debate, said the ban wasn’t what the “vast majority” of the state wanted “regardless of political affiliation.”

Arizona will be a key state in 2024. President Joe Biden won the state in 2020 and it helped propel him to victory. His campaign has already started running ads about the ban.

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