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Arizona Supreme Court puts abortion ban on hold to allow for appeal

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(The Center Square) – Arizona’s Supreme Court has granted Attorney General Kris Mayes more time to appeal to the nation’s highest court before a pre-statehood abortion ban would take effect.

The court on Monday rejected Planned Parenthood’s request to halt judgment affirming the law but approved a 90-day stay on a near-total ban on abortions from taking effect, pushing it back to mid-August. In tandem with another court ruling that pushed the date back further, the law’s effective date is now Sept. 26.

Mayes maintains that the decision to uphold the law was wrongly decided, and that other issues merit further judicial review.

“I am grateful that the Arizona Supreme Court has stayed enforcement of the 1864 law and granted our motion to stay the mandate in this case for another 90 days,” Mayes said in a news release. “During this period, my office will consider the best legal course of action to take from here, including a potential petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Whether the ban ever takes effect could hinge on when the Arizona Legislature adjourns. The current session is set to adjourn on May 31. That day will start another countdown for a law signed by Gov. Katie Hobbs to take effect. Other legal challenges could complicate the law’s journey further.

“I will do everything I can to ensure that doctors can provide medical care for their patients according to their best judgment, not the beliefs of the men elected to the territorial legislature 160 years ago,” Mayes said.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, the nonprofit that won the case allowing the pre-statehood ban to take effect, asked the court to finalize its judgment affirming the law.

“Life is a human right, and Arizona’s pro-life law respects that fundamental right. Life begins at conception,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jake Warner. “Arizona’s pro-life law has protected unborn children for over 100 years, and while we are deeply saddened by the Legislature’s recent vote to repeal the law, it won’t take effect immediately, as the legislature intentionally decided. And though the court paused its judgment, we will continue working to protect unborn children and promote real support and health care for Arizona families.”

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision sending the legality of abortions back to states, Arizona’s Supreme Court upheld the 1864 law that banned abortions unless the life of the mother was at risk. State lawmakers narrowly passed a repeal of the law so that another 15-week ban would take effect. A ballot proposition poised to make the November ballot would amend the state constitution to allow abortion up to “fetal viability.”

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