Arizona Supreme Court grants stay, preventing 1864 abortion ban from taking effect 

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The Arizona Supreme Court on Monday granted state Attorney General Kris Mayes’ request to delay the enforcement of the state’s 1864 abortion ban, preventing it from taking effect for the next several months.

The state’s high court granted a 90-day stay of the 1864 law on Monday, meaning the ban cannot be enforced until Aug. 12. Combined with a separate court case, the stay is in effect until Sept. 26, Mayes said in a statement.

This will give Mayes more time to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court should her office decide to take that route. Without Monday’s ruling, the Civil War-era law could have become fully enforced on June 27 at the earliest.

It comes weeks after Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) signed a repeal of the ban passed by the state legislature. The repeal, however, does not take effect until 90 days after the state legislature adjourns for the year.

Combined with Monday’s ruling, enforcement of the 1864 abortion ban may never take effect, though it depends on when their state legislature adjourns and there is currently no end date in sight.

Arizona is the latest state to be faced with the question of abortion access after the state Supreme Court last month upheld the 1864 ban on nearly all abortions in the state, except in instances to save the life of the mother. The law also imposed jail time for physicians who perform abortions.

The 160-year-old law was never repealed and remained on the books for decades. The GOP-appointed state Supreme Court ruled 4-2 the ban could be enforced because Roe v. Wade was overturned.

Once the repeal goes into effect, the state will revert back to the 15-week ban signed into law by former Gov. Doug Ducey (R) in 2022.

Mayes filed a motion for the court to stay a final mandate for 90 days late last month and a day later, Planned Parenthood Arizona filed a motion with the state Supreme court requesting that it stay its final order in the case until the repeal can be implemented. 

“I continue to believe this case was wrongly decided, and there are issues that merit additional judicial review,” Mayes wrote Monday. “I will do everything I can to ensure that doctors can provide medical care for their patients according to their best judgment, not the beliefs of the men elected to the territorial legislature 160 years ago.”

Mayes said her office is determining the “best” legal course of actions, which could include bringing the case to the nation’s high court.

“Planned Parenthood Arizona will continue to provide abortion care through 15 weeks of pregnancy and we remain focused on ensuring patients have access to abortion care for as long as legally possible,” Angela Florez, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona said in a statement, adding later, “We will not be intimidated or silenced by anti-abortion extremists, because our bodies and our autonomy are at stake.”

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