Arizona AG Kris Mayes exploring legal options to thwart near-total abortion ban

Apr 12, 2024, 4:35 AM

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes speaks in Phoenix after the state Supreme Court issued a ruling...

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes speaks in Phoenix after the state Supreme Court issued a ruling upholding a near-total abortion ban on Tuesday, April 9, 2024. (Facebook Photo/Attorney General Kris Mayes)

(Facebook Photo/Attorney General Kris Mayes)

PHOENIX – Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes thinks there is a legal path to preventing a near-total abortion ban from going into effect, but she’s not taking anything for granted.

Two days after the state’s high court upheld an 1864 law that makes all abortions other than to save the life of the mother illegal, Mayes said Thursday her office is assessing all options.

“We’ll have more to say about this next week, but we do believe there are additional legal avenues that we can take to try to make sure that this 1864 ban is never actually enacted,” Mayes, a Democrat, told KTAR News 9.23 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show.

How does Kris Mayes think near-total ban can be stopped?

Mayes said one option could be to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court “based on some of the predicates and reasoning” of the state court.

“They also left the door open for us to take this back down to the trial court level to go over and address some of the constitutional issues that were not addressed in this,” she said.

Mayes said she thinks both the pending near-total abortion ban and current 15-week limit violate the right to privacy as guaranteed in the Arizona Constitution.

“I believe this decision by the [state] Supreme Court could get women killed, and it’s not a hypothetical. … Women have complications in their pregnancies. We know that, and a near total ban will put women in danger of dying if something happens at two weeks, at six weeks, at 16 weeks, and I think we have to keep that front and center in our minds,” she said.

When is Arizona’s 1864 abortion ban supposed take effect?

The state Supreme Court ordered the 1864 law to go into effect 14 days after the decision was issued, but a previous ruling in a related case adds 45 days to the lag, meaning it can’t be enforced for about two months.

“Arizona women and men, I think, are worried about what will happen in 60 days, and so while the legal issues play out, we are developing a plan for how to help women and doctors make it to other states … like California and Nevada for Reproductive care,” Mayes said.

Regardless of how it plays out in the courts, or potential action by the Legislature, Arizona voters will likely have their say in the matter in November.

The Arizona for Abortion Access act, an initiative that would essentially revert state abortion law to the standard of Roe v. Wade, is expected to qualify for the Nov. 5 ballot. Mayes said she thinks voters will approve of the proposed constitutional amendment.

“I think it’s definitely going to pass now, given what the Arizona Supreme Court just did to the women and men of Arizona, but I think we now have this period of time between now and November where women’s lives have been put in danger,” Mayes said.

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Arizona AG Kris Mayes exploring legal options to thwart near-total abortion ban