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Judicial Trends Judicial Trends in Public HealthReproductive Liberties and Care Access

Planned Parenthood Arizona, et al. v. Kristin Mayes, et al.


(Arizona Supreme Court, April 9, 2024): The Arizona Supreme Court found that a law passed in 1864 that prohibits abortion except to save the life of the pregnant person was returned to effect because of the Supreme Court of the United States decision in Dobbs overturning Roe v. Wade. The court explained that the 15-week abortion ban passed in 2022 and other post-Roe abortion laws passed by the state legislature failed to completely repeal the 160-year-old total abortion ban that had only been unenforceable because of Roe. The later enactments did not create an explicit right to abortion. As a result, abortion is prohibited except to save the life of the pregnant person per the 1864 law. Unlike the 15-week ban, the 1864 law lacks any definitions or explanations that medical professionals can rely upon to determine when a pregnant person’s life is in sufficient jeopardy to permit abortion. The Attorney General of Arizona sought reconsideration of the decision; that was denied April 30, 2024. On May 1, 2024, the Arizona State Legislature passed a bill repealing the 1864 prohibition and the Governor will sign the bill. As a result, the 1864 ban revived in the Mayes case will have no effect and the 15-week ban passed in 2022 will be effective. Read the full decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – May 14, 2024.

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