Arizona Attorney General Says She Wouldn't Enforce 'Unconscionable' Abortion Ban

Shortly after the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a 150-year-old law criminalizing abortion in the state could be reinstated, the state attorney general pledged not to enforce it.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes minced no words in a statement that denounced the “unconscionable” ruling as “an affront to freedom.”

“By effectively striking down a law passed this century and replacing it with one from 160 years ago, the Court has risked the health and lives of Arizonans,” Mayes said.

She added: “Today’s decision to reimpose a law from a time when Arizona wasn’t a state, the Civil War was raging, and women couldn’t even vote will go down in history as a stain on our state.”

Should the law nevertheless be enacted after its current 14-day stay, it would be among the strictest in the country, banning the procedure in all cases except to save the mother’s life.

Anyone who helps facilitate an abortion would also face a felony charge, punishable by a two-to-five-year prison sentence.

“This is far from the end of the debate on reproductive freedom, and I look forward to the people of Arizona having their say in the matter,” Mayes concluded. “And let me be completely clear, as long as I am Attorney General, no woman or doctor will be prosecuted under this draconian law in this state.”

The Arizona Democrat has previously voiced her support for an abortion rights ballot measure in the state. That effort, championed by a group calling itself Arizona for Abortion Access, recently secured enough signatures to go before voters this fall.

The group’s proposed constitutional amendment would codify the right to an abortion in the state until the 24th week of pregnancy, with exceptions afterward to protect the life of the mother.