Almost All Abortion Now Illegal in Arizona

FILE - Protesters march around the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix after the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Friday, June 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

By Robert Gundran

September 23, 2022

Arizonans who want to obtain an abortion will now be forced to travel to neighboring states.

Almost all abortion is now illegal in Arizona after a judge allowed an 1864 law to go back in effect Friday.

That law, which predates Arizona statehood, bans all abortion except to save the life of the person pregnant. It mandates two to five years in prison for those who provide abortions.

An injunction was placed on the law in 1973 after the US Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision. Once Roe was overturned in June of this year, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a motion in Pima County Superior Court, where the injunction started, in order to allow the Civil War-era law to be reinstated.

“We applaud the court for upholding the will of the legislature and providing clarity and uniformity on this important issue,” Brnovich said on Twitter.

Though the ruling from Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson may uphold the will of the Republican-controlled state Legislature, which recently passed a law banning abortion in most cases after 15 weeks, it does not line up with the will of Arizonans. A poll from OH Predictive Insights showed 87% of Arizonans are in favor of abortion being legal in some way.

Arizonans who want to obtain an abortion will now be forced to travel to neighboring states.

An appeal of the ruling is likely.

A law recently passed by the Arizona Legislature banning abortion after 15 weeks was set to go into effect Saturday.

Prosecution of abortion has become a topic of debate between candidates in the 2022 elections for Arizona attorney general and Maricopa County attorney.

Julie Gunnigle, the Democratic nominee for Maricopa County attorney, said in The Copper Courier’s interview with her that she will never prosecute those who receive or perform abortions in the county.

Her opponent, current Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell, has said she will follow Arizona law and determine prosecution on a case-by-case basis. She has also said she does not want to re-victimize victims when it comes to people who get abortions after cases of rape or incest. Mitchell had not given a statement on the ruling as of Friday afternoon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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  • Robert Gundran

    Robert Gundran grew up in the Southwest, spending equal time in the Valley and Southern California throughout his life. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in 2018 and wrote for The Arizona Republic and The Orange County Register.

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