May 14, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Arizona Supreme Court delays 1864 abortion ban's enforcement

About six people photographed at a reproductive rights rally holding signs that say "abortion is health care," "Arizona for abortion access," and "protect safe, legal abortion." The people are standing outside.

Members of Arizona for Abortion Access, a ballot initiative, hold a protest on April 17 in Phoenix. Photo: Rebecca Noble/Getty Images

The Arizona Supreme Court on Monday agreed to delay for another 90 days enforcement of an 1864 ban on nearly all abortions.

Why it matters: The ban was recently repealed and the delay narrows the window during which it could be temporarily enforced, a win for reproductive rights advocates.

  • "I will do everything I can to ensure that doctors can provide medical care for their patients according to their best judgment, not the beliefs of the men elected to the territorial legislature 160 years ago," Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes said in a statement.

Catch up quick: The Arizona Supreme Court upheld a near-total abortion ban last month, which dates back to the 19th Century.

  • Both chambers of the state's legislature then voted to repeal the ban, which meant that a 2022 law will be reinstated 90 days after the end of the legislative session.
  • The law makes it a felony to perform or induce an abortion after 15 weeks of gestation.

What's next: Because of the 90-day stay and a separate stay stemming from another case, the earliest the 1864 law can be enforced is on Sept. 26, per the attorney general's office.

  • Mayes' office will consider petitioning the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, she said in the statement, as it assesses the "best legal course of action."
  • "I continue to believe this case was wrongly decided," Mayes wrote.

The big picture: A proposed ballot measure would enshrine abortion rights in Arizona if passed.

Go deeper: When Arizona women sought abortion care, by week

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