White House condemns ‘disastrous’ decision allowing Arizona’s 1864 anti-abortion law to go into effect

The White House has warned of “devastating, dangerous and unacceptable” consequences after a judge’s ruling upheld Arizona’s 158-year-old anti-abortion law, which was originally drafted 48 years before Arizona even became a state.

In a statement on September 24, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre warned that the judge’s decision “will set Arizona women back more than a century.”

“While we await the next steps for any implementation of the law, the potential consequences of this decision are devastating, dangerous and unacceptable,” he said.

The law – was written more than 100 years before the US Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade overturned state-level bans on abortion care – prohibiting all abortions in the state except to save the patient’s life.

The abortion ban was updated in 1901. Arizona became a state in 1912. But the sweeping abortion ban from the state’s territorial history decades earlier has remained on the books, but unenforced, for more than a century, despite a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 1973. the law and other similar unconstitutional.

With the decision at Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization On June 24, the nation’s highest court revoked the constitutional right to abortion care and ruled that such decisions rest solely with individual states.

In her Sept. 23 ruling, Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson cited the recent Dobbs decision and said the court “finds that because the legal basis for the decision issued in 1973 is now superseded, it must vacate the decision as a whole. .”

Republican state Attorney General Mark Brnovich celebrated the judge’s decision.

“We applaud the court for upholding the will of the legislature and providing clarity and uniformity on this important issue,” he said.

The judge lifted the order a day before a state law restricting abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy took effect.

Conflicting restrictions on abortion care in the state have created confusion and chaos among providers and advocates, with Mr. Brnovich pushing for tighter restrictions and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey defending the 15-week ban.

The newly ratified law dating back to 1863 imposes a prison sentence of two to five years for anyone who helps a woman have an abortion.

“If this decision is upheld, healthcare providers will face up to five years in prison for failing to fulfill their duty of care. Survivors of rape and incest would be forced to bear the children of their attackers. And women with medical conditions would face dire health risks,” according to Ms Jean-Pierre.

Abortion rights advocates have vowed to continue fighting the law in court and to campaign against Mr. Brnovich, who is term-limited and faces Democratic challenger Kris Mayes in November.

Banning abortion would have a “devastating effect across our borders and beyond,” according to Caroline Mello Roberson, Southwest Regional Director of NARAL Pro-Choice. “We’re working with our 75,000 members across the Copper State to send a clear message: When you come for our rights, we come for your place.”

Planned Parenthood Arizona has condemned the revival of the “archaic” law that the organization says will send “Arizona residents back nearly 150 years.”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs also said in a statement that she “mourns” the decision and has pledged to repeal anti-abortion legislation if elected.

“Medical professionals will now be forced to think twice and call their attorney before providing patients with often necessary, life-saving care,” she said in a statement.

Ms. Jean-Pierre said the “retrograde decision exemplifies the troubling trend across the country of Republican officials at the local and national level, dead set on taking away women’s rights, including through the proposed national abortion ban by Senator Graham,” referring to South Carolina. Senator Lindsey Graham’s recent proposal to ban abortion nationwide at 15 weeks.

More than a dozen states have effectively banned all abortions, with limited exceptions, in recent months. As many as 26 states are expected to push for bans or severe restrictions on unconstitutional abortion care Roe.

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