A Pima County Superior Court judge in Arizona, Kellie Johnson, has ruled to withdraw the stay of a law from before Arizona was a state that prohibits in practice and under threat of criminal consequences any termination of pregnancy except in cases of danger to the mother.
The rule had been suspended for 50 years, but has now been restored, so that clinics and their staff will have to immediately cease abortifacient practices with chemical, pharmacological or surgical means under threat of penalties ranging from two to five years in prison, according to US public radio NPR.
The state’s attorney general, Republican Mark Brnovich, had asked to overturn the suspension a month ago after the Supreme Court on June 24 struck down the recognition of abortion rights at the federal level, leaving it to each state to legislate.
“We applaud the court for upholding the will of the legislature and bringing clarity and uniformity to this very important issue,” Brnovich said after learning of the ruling.
Dr. DeShawn Taylor, who runs a clinic that provides abortions, has expressed dismay over the measure, but said she is not surprised. “The people who govern this state want abortion to be illegal. Of course, deep down we cling to hope, but the first thing that comes to my mind is that I’ve been preparing for a total ban for a long time,” he explained.
Since the overturning of the Roe v. Wade ruling as many as twelve Republican-governed states have imposed restrictive abortion regulations. This Sunday, a new law goes into effect that bans abortions in Arizona after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The U.S. Presidency has already warned that this is a “dangerous” decision and that it “places Arizona women more than a century ago, when Arizona was not even a state.”
“The potential consequences of this decision are catastrophic, dangerous and unacceptable,” he added. “Victims of rape and incest will be forced to bear the child of the perpetrators,” the White House stressed, vowing to continue working for the passage of an abortion rights law at the federal level.