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Published on May 14, 2024
Arizona Abortion Showdown, State's High Court Pauses 1864 Ban, AG Eyes Supreme Court BattleSource: Unsplash/Wesley Tingey

Arizona's Supreme Court has temporarily halted the enforcement of a 19th-century abortion law, granting the state a 90-day reprieve. The controversial 1864 law, which was reinstated following the reversal of Roe v. Wade, has ignited a fierce legal battle that could potentially reach the nation's highest court.

On Monday afternoon, Chief Justice Robert Brutinel signed an order deferring the law's implementation until at least August 12th, giving Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes additional time to prepare for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. "I continue to believe this case was wrongly decided, and there are issues that merit additional judicial review," Mayes said, grasping at the promise of reprieve for the women of Arizona in a statement obtained by AZPM News.

The legislative maelstrom continues as the Arizona legislature has moved to repeal the archaic ban, but the law is caught in a procedural limbo. Without a clear end to this year's session, the effective date of the repeal remains uncertain, barely a silhouette on the horizon.

Proponents for reproductive rights are seizing upon this judicial pause, channeling their advocacy towards the passing of a state constitutional amendment that would safeguard abortion rights. This latest court order has amplified their calls, with the hiatus spotlighting, once again, the ambiguity, and uncertainty surrounding reproductive rights in the state. In her statement, Mayes muses that the order, coupled with an earlier ruling, means the ban may in fact be barred from enforcement until September 26, further extending the interim period before the state's women might find themselves in legal jeopardy once again.