By Stacey Barchenger and Reagan Priest

Supporters of an effort to put abortion rights into the Arizona Constitution decried a court ruling upholding a pre-statehood ban on Tuesday, but acknowledged the decision could have a “seismic” political effect.

Abortion rights groups have been working for months to gather enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. As of a week ago, they had more than enough signatures, well ahead of a July deadline.

Then came Tuesday’s 4-2 Arizona Supreme Court ruling, which upheld an 1864 law criminalizing abortion providers unless they are acting to save the life of the mother. As Democratic Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs put it, the court left Arizona with “one of the most extreme abortion bans in the country.”

That ruling also left Arizonans with a choice: The court-ordered pre-statehood ban or the ballot measure.

“I think this was a seismic decision, and maybe not in the way Republicans thought it was going to be for Arizona politics and the election in November,” said Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat who has pledged never to prosecute abortion cases. “I think this changes everything. I think it supercharges the ballot initiative and it supercharges the elections of all pro-choice candidates.”

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