Ariz. calls California 'safe haven' for abortion providers after state Supreme Court ruling The Attorney General wants

PHOENIX – Arizona's attorney general will do what he can to mitigate the effects of a Civil War-era abortion ban, the state's highest court ruled this week.

Attorney General Chris Mayes, a Democrat, told NBC News in an in-person interview Thursday that his office is refusing to prosecute abortion providers and patients and help Arizona doctors obtain licenses in other states after the court ruled in favor of 1864. Almost total abortion ban Tuesday.

“I completely understand the fear that doctors, pharmacists and nurses have right now in the face of the knowledge that we are fighting to enforce this 1864 ban,” Mays said. “That's why I've been working with other states on ways to travel to those states to do medicine. One of my visions is that California can be a safe haven for our doctors, nurses and abortion providers.

An 1864 Arizona law banned abortion from the moment of conception, except to save the woman's life. It made abortion a crime punishable by two to five years in prison for performing an abortion or assisting someone to perform an abortion. Tuesday's decision effectively overturns a lower court's ruling that the recent 15-week ban violated the law.

The state Supreme Court said Tuesday it would stay its decision for 14 days so a lower court could consider “additional constitutional challenges.” Reproductive rights advocates can appeal the ruling within a two-week window. Meanwhile, a separate, ongoing lawsuit would allow abortion providers to continue providing services through the 15th week of pregnancy through the end of May.

Shortly after the ruling, Mayes announced in a statement that “as long as I am attorney general, no woman or doctor will be prosecuted under this draconian law in this state.”

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He said on Thursday: “I was chosen for this moment. It's about freedom and the ability to control our own bodies. So let's do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Dr. Acacia of Women's Center in Phoenix. Abortion providers like Ronald Younis said that while he applauded Mayes' promise, doctors like him would not be legally allowed to treat patients without fear of arrest. “It's still against the law,” Younis pointed out. “If it's illegal, I can't have an abortion”.

Asked about those concerns Thursday, Mayes said his office was going to use 45 days to fight the ban so it would never be implemented. She said she is working with Arizona providers to get a license to provide care in California on a temporary basis until voters weigh a ballot measure to enshrine abortion rights in the state's constitution this fall.

“I understand a doctor saying, 'I can't do this, I have to provide for my family, I don't want to lose my license, I don't want to go to prison for two to five years.'” Mayes admitted. “My message to them is that I'm going to do everything I can to fight for you as Arizona's attorney general.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, has told Her state is “committed to helping Arizonans access reproductive health care.” In a statement from his office, spokesman Brandon Richards said California has already been preparing for an influx of patients needing reproductive health care. Roe v. Wade Overturned.

“We are working in close coordination with the Arizona Governor's Office to ensure Arizonans know that California has their backs and that resources are available if they seek care in our state,” the statement said.

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Tuesday's ruling is the latest setback for abortion rights since the Supreme Court in 2022 overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed the constitutional right to abortion. Before the decision, half of the states indicated they would restrict abortion access if Roe v. Wade were struck down. Since then, nearly two dozen states have banned abortions or severely restricted access, prompting a wave of legal challenges. Arizona reproductive rights groups and lawyers protested across the state as abortion providers wrestled with how to move forward.

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