An Arizona judge upheld a century-old abortion ban nearly three months until the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
The long-awaited ruling determined which version of an abortion ban would be in effect in the state — a nearly complete abortion ban, with criminal penalties, dating back 11 years before Arizona became a state, or a law banning abortion after 15 weeks.
Republican government spokesman Doug Ducey said the 15-week abortion ban passed by the legislature this year will go into effect Saturday and will be the law of the country, despite today’s ruling ending the older law with jail time for providers. .
“Governor Ducey was proud to sign SB 1164, which takes effect tomorrow. Arizona remains one of the most pro-life states in the country,” Ducey’s spokesman told TSTIME News.
sen. Mark Kelly said in a statement that the decision would have “a devastating impact on the freedom that women in Arizona have enjoyed for decades.”
“Let’s be clear, this is exactly what Blake Masters wants, to completely ban abortions in Arizona and across the country – without even an exception for rape or incest. I will never stop fighting for these rights for women in Arizona recover,” Kelly said in a statement.
The 1901 Act, with language dating back to 1864, provides no exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal abnormalities and makes performing abortions punishable by two to five years in prison.
The only exception is if the mother’s life is in danger.
“The court finds that because the legal basis for the judgment entered in 1973 has now been violated, it must quash the judgment in its entirety,” Judge Kellie Johnson wrote in the ruling.
An injunction was imposed to block the 121-year ban in 1973 following the Roe v. Wade ruling.
However, in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in June, Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, announced that he would try to lift the ban.
The ruling means the 15-week ban, which bans abortions “except in a medical emergency” and passed by the Arizona legislature earlier this year, will go into effect this Saturday.
Under the new ban, doctors who knowingly violate the statute are committing a felony, and their license to practice medicine could be suspended or revoked.
“The Arizona legislature has consistently reaffirmed our existing law before Roe v. Wade, most recently with legislation passed by lawmakers and signed by the governor earlier this year,” Brnovich’s office told TSTIME affiliate KNXV in Phoenix. “We look forward to the court providing clarity and uniformity for all Arizonans.”
Abortion rights advocates vehemently oppose both, but have expressed a preference for the new law over the older one. Planned Parenthood of Tucson sued Brnovich for trying to enforce the older law.
Since Roe was destroyed, abortion providers in Arizona have suspended or restricted services due to confusion over the two bans.