Arizona’s 1864 law banning abortion in most circumstances in effect, judge rules

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By Stacey Barchenger |and Ray Stern || Arizona Republic

An Arizona law that bans abortions in nearly all circumstances can again be enforced after a Pima County judge lifted an injunction that had left the pre-statehood law dormant for nearly five decades.

RELATED: People in Arizona have just lost bodily autonomy’: Abortion providers enraged by ruling

That decision Friday was immediately praised by abortion foes and lamented by abortion rights advocates — and it stands to be a potentially galvanizing force just ahead of November’s midterm elections.

Republican state Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked the court to rule on the injunction after the U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned Roe v. Wade, a 1973 decision that legalized abortion across the country. 

Judge Kellie Johnson

The court’s decision earlier this year, in the Mississippi case called Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, put the question of abortion policy back in the hands of states.

Arizona had conflicting laws on the books, leading to the court challenge and confusion among abortion providers about what was legal and what was not.

The Friday ruling by Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson provides clarity in allowing enforcement of the old law, which bans abortions in all cases except when necessary to save the pregnant person’s life. 

But abortion rights advocates are likely to appeal, meaning the state of abortion law in Arizona is still far from settled. 

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