January 11, 2023

Arizona Court Upholds 15-Week Abortion Limit, Blocks 1864 Abortion Ban

An Arizona state Court of Appeals issued a ruling that Arizona's 1864 law banning all abortions is not enforceable due to exceptions carved out in more recent legislation.

“The question at the core of this appeal is whether a licensed physician who performs an elective abortion in conformity with more recent statutes in Title 36 is nevertheless subject to prosecution under §13 3603,” the Appeals Court panel wrote. “Because Title 36 permits physicians to perform elective abortions under certain circumstances, the answer is no.”

The three-judge panel unanimously ruled that although the 1864 law was never repealed, newer laws written to regulate abortion under Roe v. Wade created a set of rules that allow abortions. The court wrote that laws regarding waiting periods, parental notification, and the 15-week ban created a new legal framework allowing abortion. Essentially, they decided that these newer laws overrode the 1864 law except in cases when non-physicians might attempt to commit abortions.

Incoming pro-abortion Arizona attorney general Kris Mayes said that she will not appeal the decision, and incoming pro-abortion governor Katie Hobbs has declared her intent to get rid of the 15-week ban.