Arizona Reinstates 160-Year-Old Abortion Ban

By Jack Healy and Kellen Browning | New York Times

Arizona’s highest court on Tuesday upheld an 1864 law that bans nearly all abortions, a decision that could have far-reaching consequences for women’s health care and election-year politics in a critical battleground state.

“Physicians are now on notice that all abortions, except those necessary to save a woman’s life, are illegal,” the court said in a 4-to-2 decision.

But the court, whose justices are all Republican appointees, also put its ruling on hold for the moment and sent the matter back to a lower court for additional arguments about the law’s constitutionality. Abortion providers said they expected to continue performing abortions through May as their lawyers and Democratic lawmakers searched for new legal arguments and additional tactics to delay the ruling.

The ruling immediately set off a political earthquake. Democrats condemned it as a “stain” on Arizona that would put women’s lives at risk. Several Republicans, sensing political peril, also criticized the ruling and called for the Republican-controlled Legislature to repeal it.

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