Arizona Supreme Court grants 90-day delay on enforcement of state’s 1864 abortion law

May 13, 2024, 3:34 PM | Updated: 4:32 pm

PHOENIX — The Arizona Supreme Court on Monday granted a 90-day stay on allowing the state’s 1864 abortion law to go back into effect, clearing the way for a possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The decision doesn’t allow the law to go into effect until Sept. 26, giving Attorney General Kris Mayes more time to consider filing an appeal and lessening the possible time the law could be enforceable in Arizona. Before the decision, the law could have been enforced starting June 26.

What is the current abortion law in Arizona?

The 15-week pregnancy law is currently in effect as Arizona’s prevailing law.

The Arizona Legislature voted to repeal the 1864 law last month and Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs signed House Bill 2677 on May 2. The bill won’t become effective until 90 days after the legislative session concludes, so a period during which almost all abortions could be prohibited in the state is still possible. The legislative session typically ends in June or July.

Mayes has vowed to explore all options to keep the 160-year-old law from taking effect.

“I continue to believe this case was wrongly decided and there are issues that merit additional judicial review,” Mayes said in a statement. “I will do everything I can to ensure that doctors can provide medical care for their patients according to their best judgment, not the beliefs of the men elected to the territorial legislature 160 years ago.”

What’s the recent history of Arizona abortion now?

Arizona’s abortion rights battle began after the state Supreme Court set the clock back to the 1864 law on April 9.

The law, which dated back to before Arizona became a state, made it illegal to perform an abortion except when necessary to save the mother’s life. There were no exceptions for survivors of rape or incest. It carried a sentence of 2-5 years in prison for doctors or anyone else who assists in an abortion.

After the ruling, Democrats pushed forward House Bill 2677, but it took bipartisan support to finally bring it to Hobbs’ desk.

The House passed it with votes from three Republicans. After that, the Senate passed it with two votes from Republicans.

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Arizona Supreme Court grants 90-day delay on enforcement of state’s 1864 abortion law