Arizona Supreme Court Upholds 1864 Law Banning Most Abortions

By Bill Galluccio

April 9, 2024

gavel hammer and wood block with text abortion law
Photo: May Lim / iStock / Getty Images

The Arizona Supreme Court upheld an anti-abortion law passed in 1864. The strict law, which was passed before Arizona became a state, outlaws abortion from the moment of conception but does allow exceptions to save the life of the mother.

Under the law, anybody who performs an abortion or helps a woman get an abortion faces two to five years in prison.

In a 4-2 majority, the justices ruled that a 2022 law, which prohibited abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, did not repeal the 160-year-old law.

The Supreme Court issued a 14-day stay on their ruling and sent the case to a lower court to consider other outstanding legal challenges. The law will take effect 45 days after the stay.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes said that her office will not enforce the law.

"This is far from the end of the date on reproductive freedom, and I look forward to the people of Arizona having their say in the matter. And let me be completely clear, as long as I am Attorney General, no woman or doctor will be prosecuted under this draconian law in this state," Mayes said in a statement.

Last year, Governor Katie Hobbs signed an executive order giving the state attorney general sole power over enforcing abortion laws in the state.

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