Arizona judge rules state can enforce near-total abortion ban
An Arizona Superior Court judge ruled Friday that a 1901 ban on nearly all abortions in that state can be enforced, a decision that is likely to see an appeal and could energize female voters to turn out in greater numbers in the state’s hotly contested US Senate and governor’s races.
In ruling that Arizona’s near-total ban on abortion could take effect, Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson granted a request by the state’s Republican attorney general to lift a court injunction that had barred enforcement of Arizona’s pre-statehood ban on abortion after the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade in 1973.
“The court finds that because the legal basis for the judgment entered in 1973 has now been overruled, it must vacate the judgment in its entirety,” Johnson wrote in the ruling released Friday.
The judge’s ruling effectively outlaws all abortions in Arizona except when the procedure is necessary to save the mother’s life.
The ruling drew a swift rebuke from several Democratic groups that favor abortion rights and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Katie Hobbs, who said she was “outraged and devastated” by the decision.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that this draconian 1901 law will have dire consequences on the health and well-being of Arizona women and their families,” Hobbs said in a statement. “This cruel law effectively outlaws abortion in Arizona — with no exceptions for rape or incest — and risks women’s fundamental freedom to make their own health care decisions. … To make matters worse, this law mandates jail time for abortion providers. Medical professionals will now be forced to think twice and call their lawyer before providing patients with oftentimes necessary, lifesaving care.”
Arizona GOP Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who led the legal process to try to get Arizona’s pre-statehood ban on abortion put back into effect after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in late June, tweeted that he was pleased by the decision:
“We applaud the court for upholding the will of the legislature and providing clarity and uniformity on this important issue. I have and will continue to protect the most vulnerable Arizonans,” he tweeted.
This story is breaking and will be updated.