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Rapt attention

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Back to the future, again.

The recent abortion decision by the Arizona Supreme Court to go back to an 1864 law enacted while it was still a territory was interesting. 

The ban was first enacted in 1864 as part of the Howell Code — the original set of laws that governed the Arizona territory after Union soldiers gained control over the Confederacy during the Civil War. 

“[E]very person who shall administer or cause to be administered or taken, any medicinal substances, or shall use or cause to be used any instruments whatever, with the intention· to procure the miscarriage of any woman then being with child, and shall be thereof duly convicted, shall be punished by imprisonment in the Territorial prison for a term not less than two years nor more than five years: Provided, that no physician shall be affected by the last clause of this section, who in the discharge of his professional duties deems it necessary to produce the miscarriage of any woman in order to save her life.”

“Physicians are now on notice that all abortions, except those necessary to save a woman’s life, are illegal,” the Arizona Supreme Court said in its recent decision, adding that additional criminal and regulatory sanctions may apply to abortions performed after 15 weeks, the state’s previous time limit for the procedure.

I decided to look into other laws from Arizona besides the obvious one where women were not allowed to vote.

  • In Tucson, it’s illegal for women to wear pants, and for men to wear women’s dresses.
  • If a woman became pregnant out of wedlock and had a miscarriage and then concealed it, she would go to jail for a year.
  • In 1864, only “white male citizens” of the United States or Mexico who’d lived in the territory for six months were allowed to vote.
  • Having “carnal knowledge of any female child under the age of ten years, either with or without her consent.” If she's ten years old or over, you are good to go.
  • It is currently illegal to have a sleeping donkey in your bathtub after 7pm in Arizona.
  • In Arizona, you can’t feed garbage to pigs. 
  • Spitting in public is prohibited on crosswalks, highways and sidewalks. 
  • More than six unrelated women cannot live together in Maricopa County.
  • You can’t draw or paint or advertise on a flag. It’s also illegal to mutilate or perform any dishonorable act on a flag.
  • You are allowed to challenge anyone to a street race.
  • It is illegal for men and women over the age of 18 to have a missing tooth visible when smiling in Tombstone.
  • It is illegal to hunt and kill camels.
  • Any type of fortune telling, palmistry, or hypnotism is prohibited in Avondale.
  • In the city of El Mirage, it is a misdemeanor infraction to hang a clothesline anywhere on a residential property.
  • It’s illegal to intentionally trip an equine for the purpose of entertainment or sport. 
  • Arizona state law 13-3453 declares the creation, possession, or distribution of imitation cocaine as a Class 6 felony.
  • No one is permitted to ride their horse up the stairs of the courthouse in Prescott, Arizona.

By all means, let's go back to the 19th century for our jurisprudence. I believe it was Alito who recently intimated that we should forget the laws of the late 20th century when considering our legal history. Back to the stocks and public whippings! The only people that will be able to vote are white, christian, male property owners. Women are there to serve and make babies. Beautiful.


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