Arizona’s highest court ruled on Tuesday, April 9, that an 1864 law banning almost all abortions was applicable, a symbolic decision with important electoral implications a few months before the presidential election in this state. key to the southern United States.

This law prohibits any abortion from the moment of conception, unless the mother’s life is in danger. Rape or incest are not considered valid exceptions. However, Arizona Attorney General, Democrat Kris Mayes, has long warned that she would not initiate any prosecution.

Laid dormant for decades, this law “is now enforceable,” according to a ruling by the Arizona Supreme Court. Its judges considered that nothing stood in the way of its application since the constitutional protection of abortion was canceled in 2022, making each state responsible for legislating on the subject. If the law is not expected to be applied in practice at the moment, the situation could change depending on the elections – in the United States, prosecutors are elected.

Electoral issues

Abortion has been the favorite subject of the conservative movement for several decades, but the cancellation of the federal guarantee of the right to abortion has proven very unpopular with the general American public in several recent elections.

This decision by Arizona therefore strengthens the electoral stakes as the presidential election approaches, in a key state where Joe Biden won against Donald Trump with only 10,000 votes in 2020.

On Monday, Mr. Trump rightly emphasized wanting to give American states a free hand to legislate on abortion, in the event of his return to the White House. “States will determine by vote or by law, or perhaps both. Whatever they decide, it must have the force of law,” he said.

Joe Biden, for his part, denounced on Tuesday a “cruel” decision. He criticized an “even more extreme and dangerous” abortion ban. The President of the United States believes that the court decision in this western state, decisive for the presidential election in November, is the result of elected Republican officials “who are determined to take away their freedom from women”.