Arizona’s ‘dangerous’ abortion rule will set the state’s women back ‘more than a century’, White House says

Arizona’s recent abortion ruling is ‘dangerous’ and will set women in the state back ‘more than a century – to a time before Arizona was even a state,’ said Saturday morning the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre.

Jean-Pierre’s comments came a day after a judge lifted a decades-old injunction blocking enforcement of a 1901 Arizona law that bans nearly all abortions. The only exception to this pre-state ban is when the mother’s life is in danger.

On Friday, Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson granted a request from state Attorney General Mark Brnovic to lift an injunction that was put in place after the landmark 1973 ruling, Roe v. Wade, who legalized abortion nationwide.

Brnovic asked the court to lift the nearly 50-year-old injunction in July, shortly after the Supreme Court overturned Roe.

Johnson’s decision – which takes effect immediately but is expected to be appealed – means abortion clinics across the state will have to close.

It also means that anyone wishing to have an abortion will have to travel out of state.

“If this ruling is upheld, healthcare providers risk up to five years in prison for fulfilling their duty of care; victims of rape and incest would be forced to bear the children of their attackers; and women with health problems would face serious health risks,” Jean-Pierre said, calling the potential consequences of the decision “catastrophic” and “unacceptable.”

In a statement released after Friday’s ruling, Brnovich applauded the court for “supporting the will of the legislature and bringing clarity and consistency to this important issue.”

But Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the decision was “out of step with the wishes of Arizonans” and “would cruelly force pregnant women from their communities to access the abortion”.

Jean-Pierre Saturday agreed with McGill Johnson, saying the “retrogressive decision” illustrated a “worrying trend across the country of Republican officials at local and national levels determined to disenfranchise women, including through of the senator [Lindsey] Graham’s National Abortion Ban.

Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, introduced a bill in Congress earlier this month that ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy at national scale.

On Friday, President Joe Biden mentioned Graham’s bill at an event in Washington, saying electing two more Democrats to the Senate would allow him to “make Roe the law of the land againand “once again protecting women’s right to choose”.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris “will continue to push Congress to codify Roe to protect women’s access to abortion and health care,” Jean-Pierre said.

With dispatch services