ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona’s near-total abortion ban can’t be enforced before June 8, AG Kris Mayes tells providers

Apr 19, 2024, 1:00 PM

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes speaks to reporters in Phoenix after the state Supreme Court up...

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes speaks to reporters in Phoenix after the state Supreme Court upheld a near-total abortion on Tuesday, April 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Jonathan Copper)

(AP Photo/Jonathan Copper)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s near-total abortion ban can’t be enforced before June 8, the state’s top legal officer told medical providers this week.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes sent hospitals and clinics a letter Thursday detailing the legal impact of the state Supreme Court’s decision last week to uphold a ban on abortions except to save the mother’s life.

Arizona’s near-total abortion ban originated from a law passed in 1864, during the Civil War. Arizona didn’t become a state until 1912.

Mayes, a supporter of abortion rights, met with health care industry leaders to discuss the issue on Thursday. That came after the Democrat met with reproductive health care providers last Friday.

Why can’t Arizona’s 1864 abortion law be enforced before June 8?

Mayes explained that the Supreme Court decision in a case brought by Planned Parenthood goes into effect 14 calendar days from when it was issued last Tuesday. However, a trial court previously ruled in a seperate case that the 1864 law could not be enforced until 45 days after the high court’s final mandate in the Planned Parenthood case.

So for now, the state’s 2022 abortion law remains in effect, meaning the procedure is illegal after 15 weeks of pregnancy except when necessary to save the life of the mother.

“Absent any additional litigation or action by the Legislature, the status-quo remains in place concerning abortion law in our state until June 8, 2024,” Mayes said in press release Friday. “My office continues to explore all legal options available to prevent the 1864 near-total abortion ban from taking effect.”

What else did Kris Mayes tell providers about abortion ban?

Mayes said in her letter that she would notify health care providers if the date changes and issue additional guidance before the ban goes into effect, if it gets to that point.

“That guidance would seek to assist providers in complying with the law while recognizing the inherent challenges in construing such an archaic and vaguely written statute,” the letter says.

The law is currently on the books as section 13-3603 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, which reads as follows:

A person who provides, supplies or administers to a pregnant woman, or procures such woman to take any medicine, drugs or substance, or uses or employs any instrument or other means whatever, with intent thereby to procure the miscarriage of such woman, unless it is necessary to save her life, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than two years nor more than five years.

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Arizona’s near-total abortion ban can’t be enforced before June 8, AG Kris Mayes tells providers