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Arizona Uses 121-Year-Old Law to Enforce Near-Total Abortion Ban

  • An Arizona judge on Friday ruled in favor of a 1901 law that would ban nearly all abortions in the state. 
  • A Pima County judge lifted an injunction that had been in place since Roe v. Wade in 1973.
  • The only exemption to the abortion ban is if the mother’s life is in danger.

An Arizona judge on Friday ruled in favor of a 1901 law that would ban abortions in the state at nearly all stages of pregnancy.

Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson granted a request by Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich to lift a court injunction that had been in place since the Supreme Court’s decision in the Roe v. Wade case, according to CNN.

“The court finds that because the legal basis for the judgment entered in 1973 has now been overruled, it must vacate the judgment in its entirety,” Johnson wrote in the ruling, per CNN.

The law banning abortion was created more than a decade before Arizona became a state in 1912. It was part of a set of laws called the “Howell Code” which states that any person who provides abortion care — unless necessary to save the person’s life — “shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than two years nor more than five years.”

According to The Associated Press, the ruling will likely be appealed. 

The decision came one day before a new law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy was set to take effect in the state. In March, GOP Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bill, which does not allow for an abortion past that timeframe — even in cases of rape or incest, according to Reuters.

In March, the governor wrote a letter: “In Arizona, we know there is immeasurable value in every life – including preborn life. I believe it is each state’s responsibility to protect them.”

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