Joe Biden calls Arizona abortion decision ‘cruel ban’ as state politicians disagree with ruling

Apr 9, 2024, 11:53 AM | Updated: 1:52 pm

PHOENIX — The Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that most abortions in the state are banned under a law passed in 1864, prompting frustration from President Joe Biden and the state’s top Democrats.

Biden called the decision, which overturned a December 2022 appeals court decision that said doctors couldn’t be prosecuted under the pre-statehood abortion ban, a “cruel ban.”

“This ruling is a result of the extreme agenda of Republican elected officials who are committed to ripping away women’s freedom,” Biden said in a statement. “Vice President Harris and I stand with the vast majority of Americans who support a woman’s right to choose.

“We will continue to fight to protect reproductive rights and call on Congress to pass a law restoring the protections of Roe v. Wade for women in every state.

Gov. Katie Hobbs called it “a dark day in Arizona” following the ruling and said the ban needed to be immediately repealed.

“We continue to live under an unacceptable ban, a law that still strips Arizonans of their personal autonomy and has no exceptions for women who are the victims of rape or incest or any regard for pregnancy complications,” Hobbs said during a press conference.

As a result of the decision, it is now illegal to perform an abortion in Arizona except when necessary to save the life of the mother. The ban goes into effect 14 days from the ruling.

“This disastrous decision sets women’s rights in our state back two centuries and means that Arizona women have now lost the right to an abortion,” U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly said in a statement. “It will criminalize doctors for doing their jobs providing the most appropriate care to patients, which will undoubtedly have a devastating effect on the health and freedom of Arizona women and families.

“And it’s just not who we are as Arizonans.”

U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an Independent and one-time Democrat, agreed with her fellow senator.

“Today’s decision by the Arizona Supreme Court endangers women’s health, safety and well-being,” Sinema said. “Arizonans should not be forced to travel out of state just to receive basic, sometimes even life-saving, health care.”

U.S. Sen. candidate Ruben Gallego, who is aiming to replace Sinema, called the decision an “extremist ban.”

“Today’s ruling is devastating for Arizona women and their families,” Gallego said in a statement. “This is not what Arizonans want and women could die because of it.”

Rep. Greg Stanton said the decision was an “extreme overreach.”

“This cannot stand,” Stanton said. “We will not stay silent in the face of these outrageous attacks on our fundamental freedoms.”

Arizona GOP members react to abortion ruling

Arizona Republicans weren’t as vocal as Democrats, but some of the state’s most prominent from the party weighed in on the decision.

U.S. Sen. candidate Kari Lake opposed the ruling and said Hobbs and the Arizona Legislature should work toward an alternate solution.

“I speak to more Arizonans than anyone and it is abundantly clear that the pre-statehood law is out of step with Arizonans,” Lake said.

Rep. Juan Ciscomani echoed Lake’s thoughts.

“Today’s ruling is a disaster for women and providers … we must do better for women and I call on our state policymakers to immediately address this in a bipartisan manner,” Ciscomani said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Heidi Hommel contributed to this report.

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Joe Biden calls Arizona abortion decision ‘cruel ban’ as state politicians disagree with ruling