Arizona Supreme Court upholds pro-life law banning nearly all abortions


The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that a strong pro-life law banning virtually all abortions can take effect in 14 days, though left-wing activists hope to undo the decision with a ballot initiative in November.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled 4-2 Tuesday that the state’s strict abortion law can take effect, effectively banning abortion in the state for any reason except when allegedly necessary to save a mother’s life.

Current Arizona law limits abortion to the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, but the state also has on the books an abortion ban dating back to 1864, decades before Arizona became an American state in 1912, which had been blocked from enforcement ever since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade in 1973, declaring a “right” to legal abortion. The ban was codified in 1913, after Arizona gained statehood.

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe in June 2022, allowing states to directly ban abortion for the first time in half a century, it revived questions about the validity of the law. Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson ruled that the law could be enforced, as the sole basis for the old injunction was gone. 

The Arizona Court of Appeals later ruled that abortionists could not be charged under the old law because it has been superseded by more recent laws allowing abortion in the first four months of pregnancy. The state’s highest court announced last August that it would be reviewing that decision.