Arizona allows enforcement of near-total abortion ban from 1864

by ian

Arizona’s Supreme Court upheld a contentious abortion law yesterday which has drawn strong reactions.

The law in question is from 1864 and it bans abortions in the state, except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk. The law also makes performing an abortion a felony.

Confusion abounded in the state after a 15-week abortion ban was passed following the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Questions of when exactly a pregnancy abortion was outlawed resulted in a lawsuit over the issue.

According to the court, the Civil War-era law is technically still able to be enforced. Their interpretation says that the 15-week ban was created based on the existence of a federal constitutional right to abortion – similar to what was held under Roe v. Wade.

So, in the majority opinion’s words, “there is no provision in federal or state law prohibiting” the operation of the near-total ban. As such, the 160-year-old law “is now enforceable.”

The court, however, stopped short of enforcing it, saying the decision is not based on morality or even the constitutionality of the law, just whether the law can still exist. The case was sent to the trial court level for additional challenges to be considered.

But the court’s decision elicited strong reactions from all political types. President Joe Biden slammed the ruling in a statement, calling it “cruel… extreme and dangerous.”

“This ruling is a result of the extreme agenda of Republican elected officials who are committed to ripping away women’s freedom,” Biden said.

Interestingly, not all Republicans are on board with the decision; most notably, former Arizona Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake. In a statement, Lake opposed the decision and said she is calling on the state government “to come up with an immediate common sense solution that Arizonans can support.”

She continued, “Ultimately, Arizona voters will make the decision on the ballot come November.”

Lake’s comments are being called out, however, for being contradictory. Some have quoted her past statements in which she celebrated the overturning of Roe v. Wade leading to “a new chapter of Life” and the end of “the Culture of Abortion.”

The court’s decision follows news that abortion activists in the battleground state secured enough signatures to put abortion on the ballot in November.