An Arizona law that bans abortions in nearly all circumstances can again be enforced after a Pima County judge lifted an injunction that had left the pre-statehood law dormant for nearly five decades.
That decision Friday was immediately praised by abortion foes and lamented by abortion rights advocates — and it stands to be a potentially galvanizing force just ahead of November's midterm elections.
Republican state Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked the court to rule on the injunction after the U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned Roe v. Wade, a 1973 decision that legalized abortion across the country.
The court's decision earlier this year, in the Mississippi case called Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, put the question of abortion policy back in the hands of states.
Arizona had conflicting laws on the books, leading to the court challenge and confusion among abortion providers about what was legal and what was not.
The Friday ruling by Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson provides clarity in allowing enforcement of the old law, which bans abortions in all cases except when necessary to save the pregnant person's life.
But abortion rights advocates are likely to appeal, meaning the state of abortion law in Arizona is still far from settled. Providers expressed shock, outrage and enduring confusion over the ruling, which came a day before another abortion law was set to go into effect.
“Today’s ruling by the Pima County Superior Court has the practical and deplorable result of sending Arizonans back nearly 150 years," Brittany Fonteno, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona, said in a statement. "No archaic law should dictate our reproductive freedom and how we live our lives today."
The basic provisions of the law were first codified by the first territorial Legislature of Arizona in 1864: It mandates two to five years in prison for anyone who provides an abortion or the means for an abortion. The state adopted the law with streamlined language in 1901; it remains on the books today as ARS 13-3603.
"We applaud the court for upholding the will of the legislature and providing clarity and uniformity on this important issue," Brnovich said in a statement Friday. "I have and will continue to protect the most vulnerable Arizonans."
The abortion fight will definitely be on the ballot in Arizona, where women will have to decide whether or not they want a law written before women and Black folk even had the right to vote rule their lives.
2018 was a 49-49% split among white women, and Democrats did very well. But if 2022 is another year where white women vote majority Republican again though, it's going to be bad.
Vote like your country depends on it, because it does.