Sep 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

White House rips Arizona court's "backwards" decision on abortion ban

President Joe Biden

President Biden speaks during a Democratic National Committee event on Sept. 23 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The White House on Saturday ripped an Arizona court decision reinstating a near-total ban on abortion that dates to 1864.

Driving the news: "The potential consequences of this ruling are catastrophic, dangerous and unacceptable," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

  • A Pima County judge ruled Friday that the ban, which predates Arizona's statehood, will go into effect.
  • The law stipulates a two- to five-year prison sentence for anyone who helps someone obtain an abortion. A longstanding injunction had blocked its enforcement.

Catch up fast: Abortion providers in Arizona temporarily halted services after the Supreme Court's ruling overturning the landmark precedent in Roe v. Wade, but many recently resumed them.

  • The court's decision Friday came as a 15-week abortion ban, which state lawmakers recently passed and Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law, was set to take effect on Saturday.
  • Planned Parenthood Arizona argued that more permissive laws that state lawmakers had adopted should go into effect instead of the 1864 ban. The abortion rights group has since alluded to a potential appeal of the ruling.

What they’re saying: Jean-Pierre said the court's decision would jeopardize the health and safety of Arizonans.

  • “If this decision stands, health care providers would face imprisonment of up to five years for fulfilling their duty of care; survivors of rape and incest would be forced to bear the children of their assaulters; and women with medical conditions would face dire health risks," the statement said.
  • “Make no mistake: this backwards decision exemplifies the disturbing trend across the country of Republican officials at the local and national level dead-set on stripping women of their rights, including through Senator Graham’s proposed national abortion ban.”
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