US abortion rights: Arizona judge approves return to 19th century near-total ban




  • In Business
  • 2022-09-24 14:35:33Z
  • By BBC
Abortion rights protestors
Abortion rights protestors  

A near-total ban on abortion dating from 1864 must be enforced in Arizona, a judge has ruled.

The judge lifted an injunction which barred enforcement of a law allowing abortion only to save the mother's life.

This year the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, which determined there was a constitutional right to abortion.

Since then US states have been deciding if or when to allow the procedure.

Arizona's law predates the state's founding and includes a two- to five-year prison sentence for anyone who helps someone get an abortion.

It was blocked in 1973, after the Supreme Court's historic Roe v Wade ruling.

Judge Kellie Johnson of Pima County Superior Court lifted this injunction on Friday.

The decision was condemned by the White House as "catastrophic, dangerous and unacceptable", with a spokesperson highlighting the lack of exemptions for survivors of rape and incest, or women with medical conditions.

The president of Planned Parenthood Arizona, Brittany Fonteno, said she could not overstate how "cruel" it was.

"No archaic law should dictate our reproductive freedom," she said.

Roe v Wade was overturned in June. This did not automatically make abortion illegal, but it gave individual states the power to impose their own bans.

  • What is Roe v Wade ruling on abortion?

Complicating the situation, Arizona, like several other Republican-led states, passed legislation banning abortion after 15 weeks earlier this year so it could be brought into effect after Roe v Wade was overturned.

It is now unclear whether the 15-week ban or the near-total ban will take precedence.

Governor of Arizona Doug Ducey said it would be the 15-week ban, but his fellow Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich said it should be the older ban.

Abortion has been difficult to obtain in Arizona in recent months as doctors and abortion clinics have faced confusion over which law will take effect.

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