An appeals court in Arizona (USA) stipulated this Friday that doctors who perform abortions in the state they cannot be criminalized under a mid-19th century law which prohibits the procedure in practically all cases.
In a ruling, the judges explained that, by balancing the 1864 law with more recent regulations governing the termination of pregnancy, health professionals who perform the procedure should not be prosecuted by the state.
Thus, the ruling gives providers in the southern state a reprieve, preventing them from facing legal charges, but does not completely nullify the application of the law over a century old.
“Our resolution clarifies that the statuses can be reconciled so that doctors can perform abortions” under a more modern law that allows the procedure before 15 weeks, but “not be prosecuted under the regulations” of the 19th century, they wrote. the judges of the court of appeals in the ruling.
The case stems from a lawsuit from Planned Parenthoodthe largest network of sexual and reproductive health clinics in the US, which welcomed the decision but assured that Your legal fight is not over.
“Stopping the (Arizona) attorney general’s efforts to impose a near-total ban on abortion in the state has been a hard-fought victory but we won’t be fooled: we know the job is not done,” said Brittany Fonteno, president and CEO executive of the organization in a statement.
Courts in the state have blocked the enforcement of the more restrictive law, which the state government expected to take effect after the US Supreme Court revoke in June the failed Roe vs. Wade that since 1973 protected the right of pregnant people to choose.
The law prohibits abortions in all cases except those in which the life of the mother is in danger. Since the Supreme Court decision, several GOP-controlled states have passed or reinstated anti-abortion laws.
In mid-September, the West Virginia state legislature outlawed abortion in almost all cases, with exceptions only in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger. Until then, abortion had been legal in West Virginia up to twenty weeks gestation.
The state of Arizona -one of the most conservative in the country- thus became the second to ban abortion by law since the US Supreme Court revoked the aforementioned ruling in June.
In August, Indiana – also under Republican control – was the first state to take this step.