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AZ Supreme Court delays enforcement of near-total abortion ban until September

Arizona’s near-total abortion ban dating to 1864 can’t be enforced until September, following a state Supreme Court order Monday. The delay increases the likelihood that the controversial law may never go back into effect.

The court in April had upheld the 160-year-old law, but the near-total abortion ban did not take effect immediately. Based on the April ruling, enforcement had been set to begin in June.

Lawmakers voted this month to repeal the law. But that repeal can’t take effect until 90 days after the end of the legislative session — which could fall in August or later. That left the possibility that the law could be enforced temporarily starting this summer.

Attorney General Kris Mayes asked the court to hold off on issuing a mandate in the case while she considers whether to bring the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Separately, Planned Parenthood Arizona filed a motion asking the court to delay the law’s enforcement until the legislature's repeal is official.

Justices denied Planned Parenthood Arizona’s request but granted Mayes’. The new order delays the Supreme Court’s issuance of a mandate in the case until Aug. 12. Mayes says the law can’t take effect until 45 days after that mandate, which would push the earliest possible enforcement date back to Sept. 26.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to clarify when the law can be enforced. 

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Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent. She has produced work for NPR, New England Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio, PRI's The World, Washington Post, Reuters and more.She has a master’s degree in radio journalism from the USC Annenberg School of Journalism.She lives in central Phoenix with her husband, two daughters, and ill-behaved cat and dog. Her side-passions include photography, crosswords and hot sauce.