Arizona questions abortion rights amid nation-wide foment

On Tuesday, the Arizona Supreme Court reinstated a law from 1864 that bans nearly all abortions in the state – making performing an abortion punishable by two to five years in prison, except when the mother’s life is at risk.

Questions have emerged since about what it means for the legality of abortion in Arizona now and in the future.

The procedure has been available and legal in the state up to 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Now, Arizona’s highest court upheld the 1864 law banning abortion, which could have wide-ranging ramifications on abortion access in the state if implemented. 

But that doesn’t mean it will be enforced. 

The court has put the law on hold for 14 days and sent the case back to a lower court to hear additional arguments. It can also be questioned in the 45-day period before enforcement.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, also strongly came out against the law – which was introduced when Abraham Lincoln was president – calling it „draconian” and vowing that she will not prosecute any patient or doctor under it.

Roe v Wade was overturned in 2022, and since then, federal protections to abortion have been reversed in a series of US states. Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas have full bans on abortion at present. 

Florida law, for instance, allows the procedure up to 15 weeks of pregnancy, but Governor Ron DeSantis is pushing for that window to be shortened to six weeks. Meanwhile, an initiative on the November ballot – requiring 60% approval to pass – will ask whether the state’s Constitution should be amended to guarantee the right to an abortion.

Similarly, in Arizona, state legislators – who could cancel the ban – ultimately decide, but the matter could be on the voting ballot in November. 

Donald Trump only a few days ago expressed the opinion that individual states should decide their abortion laws. 

Other states have been successful in enshrining abortion access in their constitutions since Roe’s reversal, like Colorado, Kansas and Michigan.

In Western Europe, abortion rights remain safeguarded – but the issue has been highly contentious in places such as Poland for years, which outright banned abortion, and Russia more recently, which seeks means to grow a waning population. 

Trump says individual states should decide abortion


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