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Arizona Supreme Court rules to ban nearly all abortions, reverting back to penal code

The court filed its opinion in Planned Parenthood of Arizona vs. Mayes/Hazelrigg Tuesday morning
Abortion in Arizona
Posted at 10:19 AM, Apr 09, 2024

PHOENIX — The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled to ban nearly all abortions in the state, reverting back to a penal code with roots in the Civil War era.

The court filed its opinion in Planned Parenthood of Arizona vs. Mayes/Hazelrigg Tuesday morning.

The court was expected to decide whether the state’s current ban on nearly all abortions after 15 weeks will stay in place, or if it will revert back to a far narrower 123-year-old penal code.

The older law barred the procedure in all cases regardless of gestation, except when “it is necessary to save” a pregnant person’s life. It carried a prison sentence of two to five years for abortion providers.

Justices heard opening arguments in the case last December, when abortion rights opponents claimed the state should revert to the 1901 ban, and advocates asked the court to affirm the 2022 law allowing abortions up to 15 weeks, CNN previously reported.

When he signed the law in March 2022, then-Gov. Doug Ducey stated the 2022 law would not override the older law.

In late 2022, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled both abortion laws in the state must be reconciled, or “harmonized,” and that abortion is legal through 15 weeks when provided by licensed physicians in compliance with the state’s other laws and regulations, CNN previously reported.

The state Supreme Court was asked for clarity following months of uncertainty and legal wrangling over which law should apply in the state.

Last week, Arizona for Abortion Access, a group of abortion rights organizations, announced it had gathered enough signatures for a November 2024 ballot measure that would ask voters to enshrine abortion rights in the state’s constitution.