Arizona Supreme Court issues ruling banning nearly all abortions

April 9, 2024

Abortion will be almost entirely illegal in Arizona after the state Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld an 1864 law that made performing an abortion a felony.

In a 4-2 decision, the court rejected arguments that it should uphold the 15-week abortion ban passed by then-Gov. Doug Ducey (R) in 2022 and enforced after the end of Roe v. Wade.

Instead, the court ruled that the Civil War-era law passed before Arizona was even a state should be enforced. The court ruled to lift the stay on the law, meaning it goes into effect in 14 days.

The law makes abortion a felony punishable by two to five years in prison for anyone who performs or helps a woman obtain one. It includes an extremely narrow exception for “when it is necessary” to save a pregnant person’s life.

“The decision made by the Arizona Supreme Court today is unconscionable and an affront to freedom,” Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) said in a statement. “Make no mistake, by effectively striking down a law passed this century and replacing it with one from 160 years ago, the Court has risked the health and lives of Arizonans.”

Voters can remove the restrictions through a ballot measure in November.