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Arizona Permitted to Enforce 1864 Law Criminalizing Nearly All Abortions, Court Rules

US abortion bans (Credits: Lowy Institute)

The recent decision by the Arizona Supreme Court to uphold a law dating back to 1864, effectively banning nearly all abortions in the state, has reignited the abortion debate and placed it at the forefront of the 2024 election battleground. This decision has huge political implications and has prompted strong reactions from both Democrats and Republicans.

Democrats swiftly criticized the ruling, blaming former President Trump for the loss of abortion access following the reshaping of the U.S. Supreme Court by his three appointments.

Democratic leaders, including Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes and Governor Katie Hobbs, condemned the decision as regressive and vowed not to enforce the law. President Biden also expressed his opposition to the ruling, emphasizing the need to protect reproductive rights and calling on Congress to pass legislation to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade.

Abortion Rights (Credits: AP News)

The ruling places Arizona at the forefront of states with the strictest abortion laws among the top-tier battleground states for the 2024 election. This could potentially give a political advantage to President Biden and Democratic candidates, who have been campaigning on restoring abortion rights. Conversely, it may also energize Republican voters who support stricter abortion regulations.

The decision is expected to have extensive political repercussions in Arizona, potentially impacting the outcome of the presidential and Senate races.

Democratic candidates, including Senate candidate Ruben Gallego, have made abortion rights a central issue in their campaigns. The ruling may also lead to intensified efforts by abortion rights advocates to place a ballot measure before voters to restore the right to abortion.

Biden (Credits: The New York Times)

The political fallout of the ruling could also affect the legislative landscape in Arizona, potentially boosting Democratic efforts to win a majority in the state legislature.

Public opinion in Arizona has generally supported abortion rights, with a majority of voters favoring access to legal abortion in most or all cases. The overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court was a major factor for many voters in the 2022 midterm election.

Planned Parenthood and other organizations have stated their commitment to continue providing abortions within the limitations imposed by the Arizona courts. However, the enforcement of the old law, originally enacted in 1864, poses huge challenges and uncertainty regarding reproductive rights in the state.

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