The Arizona State Court of Appeals ruled that a law dating from territorial days banning abortion in nearly all cases can't be enforced. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The State Court of Appeals has ruled that Arizona can't enforce a territory-era law making it a crime to perform abortions in all cases except those where the mother's life is in danger.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich earlier this year asked a state judge to allow the 1864 law to be enforced after Roe vs. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court's Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health decision in June.
Planned Parenthood then sued to prevent the law from being enforced.
Appellate court members ruled Friday that while Dobbs vs. Jackson overturned Roe V. Wade, it did not mean the previous Arizona territory-era law is currently the law of the land. The court decided physicians can't be prosecuted under the law because subsequent laws allow for abortion.
"If we adopted it, the resulting uncertainty for licensed physicians who provide abortion services would violate due process, which requires that the law must be sufficiently definite to avoid arbitrary enforcement,'' the court wrote in the decision.
"The statutes, read together, make clear that physicians are permitted to perform abortions as regulated," they added.
Arizona Governor-elect Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, hailed the decision.
"In November, Arizonans made clear they believe in women's fundamental rights," she said in statement. "Starting in January, I will do everything in my power as governor to ensure women can exercise their constitutional rights and keep fighting to restore reproductive freedom in our state."
"The Arizona Court of Appeals has given us the clarity that Planned Parenthood Arizona has been seeking for months: When provided by licensed physicians in compliance with Arizona's other laws and regulations, abortion through 15 weeks will remain legal," Planned Parenthood Arizona President Brittany Fonteno said.
The attorney general's office didn't immediately respond to requests for comment on the decision.
Faith Adams of Bangor, Maine, kneels in prayer at a praise and worship service outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on June 27, days after the court ruled to overturn the Roe vs. Wade abortion case. Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo