Sunday, April 28, 2024

Arizona Must Enforce 1864 Abortion Ban That Contains No Exceptions for Rape or Incest, State Supreme Court Rules; Democrats Clear Path to Bring Proposed Repeal of Arizona’s Near-Total Abortion Ban to a Vote

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Arizona must enforce 1864 abortion ban that contains no exceptions for rape or incest, state Supreme Court rules:
A 160-year-old Arizona law criminalizing abortions except in cases where the mother’s life is in danger can go into effect, the Grand Canyon State’s highest court ruled Tuesday, teeing up a likely ballot initiative in a closely-watched election battleground.
The centuries-old law, which allows the prosecution of doctors who perform the procedure illegally — with a prescribed penalty of two to five years in prison — and has no carveouts for rape or incest, can be traced back to 1864, 48 years before Arizona was admitted to the Union as a state.
The Arizona Supreme Court determined in a 4-2 decision that the long-dormant law “is now enforceable” following the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in June 2022.
The law will be stayed for 14 days until it goes into effect.
Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes quickly issued a statement vowing “no woman or doctor will be prosecuted under this draconian law in this state.” However, local prosecutors could bring charges under the law.
Activists have until July 3 to produce the 383,923 signatures needed to put forward a ballot measure that would amend the state constitution to enshrine a right to an abortion if approved, according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s office.
Already, Arizona for Abortion Access claims to have locked down over 500,000 signatures.
Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, Republicans have been on the defensive over the issue, with pro-life forces suffering losses across the country.
“It is a dark day in Arizona. We are just fourteen days away from one of the most extreme abortion bans in the country,” Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs declared shortly after the decision was handed down. --->READ MORE HERE
AP Photo/Matt York
Democrats clear path to bring proposed repeal of Arizona’s near-total abortion ban to a vote:
Democrats in the Arizona Senate cleared a path to bring a proposed repeal of the state’s near-total ban on abortions to a vote after the state’s highest court concluded the law can be enforced and the state House blocked efforts to undo the long-dormant statute.
Although no vote was taken on the repeal itself, Republican Sens. T.J. Shope and Shawnna Bolick sided with 14 Democrats in the Senate on Wednesday in changing rules to let a repeal proposal advance after the deadline for hearing bills had passed. Proponents say the Senate could vote on the repeal as early as May 1.
If the proposed repeal wins final approval from the Republican-controlled Legislature and is signed into law by Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs, the 2022 statute banning the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy would become the prevailing abortion law.
The move by the Senate came after Republicans in the Arizona House, for the second time in a week, blocked attempts on Wednesday to bring a repeal bill to a vote. One Republican joined 29 Democrats in the Arizona House to bring the repeal measure to a vote Wednesday, but the effort failed twice on 30-30 votes.
The state’s near-total ban, which predates Arizona’s statehood, permits abortions only for saving the woman’s life and provides no exceptions for rape or incest. It carries a sentence of two to five years in prison for doctors or anyone else who assists in an abortion.
Last week, the Arizona Supreme Court drastically altered the legal landscape for terminating pregnancies in the state, concluding the 1864 law can be enforced and suggesting doctors can be prosecuted under the statute.
The debate in the House over whether to allow a vote on the repeal proposal was much fierier than in the Senate. Members from pro-life groups packed the House’s gallery and gave a standing ovation after efforts to bring the repeal bill to a vote was defeated.
House Speaker Ben Toma said those wanting to repeal the law were demanding action too soon, noting the court decision to revive the law came only a week ago. He said the only way he would bring the repeal bill to a vote would be if his fellow Republicans wanted it. --->READ MORE HERE
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