An Arizona judge ruled on Friday that the state can now enforce a near-total abortion ban that has been blocked since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.
After the US Supreme Court struck down the landmark opinion that legalized abortion nationwide, Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked the court in July to lift the 50-year-old injunction on the state’s pre-Roe abortion ban. The law, which dates back to 1901, has no exceptions for rape or incest with the only exception being to save the mother’s life. The ban also carries a penalty of two to five years in prison for abortion providers.
In the ruling, Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson sided with the attorney general, stating that “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.”
“This is a devastating decision and marks a dark day in Arizona history,” the ACLU of Arizona tweeted. “No one should be forced to carry pregnancies to term against their will. By allowing this law to go into effect, Arizona has put the lives of pregnant people and their doctors at risk.”
After the announcement, Brnovich celebrated the decision on Twitter, saying that he “applauds the court for upholding the will of the legislature and providing clarity and uniformity on this important issue.”
“I have and will continue to protect the most vulnerable Arizonians,” he tweeted.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat who is running for governor this fall, said in a statement that she was disappointed by the ruling.
“Like many Arizonans, I’m mourning today’s decision out of Pima County upholding the 1901 abortion ban,” Hobbs said. “This outcome is the product of a decades-long attack on reproductive freedom, and we now must turn our anger into motivation to win in November & restore our fundamental rights.”
“As your governor, I will do everything in my power to protect this right, starting by using my veto pen to block any legislation that compromises the right to choose,” Hobbs added.
The ruling is likely to be appealed. After the news broke, Planned Parenthood Arizona said on Twitter that its “lawyers are evaluating next steps” and “will “update our patients and community as soon as we have more information.”
“This is far from over, and Planned Parenthood Arizona will never back down – not now, not ever,” the abortion provider said.