In June, the U.S. Supreme Court drove a stake through the heart of Roe v. Wade, de-federalizing and reverting the issue of abortion back to the states for the first time in half a century.
Thirteen states had trigger laws on the books, meaning that in the event Roe was overturned, it would automatically trigger more recent laws to take effect — thereby making abortion illegal immediately.
Arizona was not among those 13 states. But, a much stricter abortion ban, which was written in 1864 — before Arizona became a state — effectively brought abortions to a screeching halt post-Roe.
The ban stipulated that providers could serve between two to five years in prison for performing abortions. The ban was blocked by a court injunction in 1973 after the Supreme Court’s original decision on Roe v. Wade.
However, since Roe has been struck down, the legal basis for the injunction is no longer valid, Judge Kellie Johnson ruled in September, which meant the 19th Century abortion ban would be the law of the land. Within weeks, however, a three-judge panel ruling for the Arizona Court of Appeals granted a motion by Planned Parenthood to halt Judge Johnson’s order.
Attorneys for Planned Parenthood Arizona are slated to argue against the 1864 law at the state’s Court of Appeals on Nov. 30.
After the appellate court ruling, Brittany Fonteno, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona, said, “While today’s ruling brings temporary respite to Arizonans, the ongoing threat of this extreme, near-total abortion ban that has no regard for the health care of those across the state, including survivors of rape or incest remains very real.”
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Hobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the ruling that returned abortion to the states, polls showed Americans largely disapproved of the decision, with 78 percent of Americans saying they believe surgical abortions should be legal in at least some circumstances.
Planned Parenthood called the issue of abortion a “game changer” in the 2022 midterm elections, saying the issue defied “history and the pundits to drive monumental victories for reproductive rights champions and abortion access across the country.”