Abortions in Arizona will continue until at least mid-November while an appeals court considers the case brought to them by Planned Parenthood of Arizona and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
The Arizona Court of Appeals on October 14 blocked the enforcement of a Civil War-era abortion ban that criminalizes anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion and carries a prison sentence of 2 to 5 years. Under this law, the only exception to an abortion is when the life of the mother is at risk.
The 1864 ban was blocked in 1973 following the establishment of Roe v. Wade, then reinstated in a Sept. 23 ruling from a judge in Tucson following the US Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe in June.
Providers Resume Services
For now, abortions in Arizona are still legal until at least Nov. 17, when another court ruling regarding abortion is expected to be decided. Two of the state’s major abortion providers, Camelback Family Planning and Planned Parenthood of Arizona, have resumed operations.
Camelback Family Planning is now offering a full range of services in Phoenix, while Planned Parenthood of Arizona is currently only serving Tucson, with plans to resume services in Phoenix once they have staff in place. Acacia Women’s Services is currently offering walk-ins and appointments for IV sedated abortion and the early option pill.
Although abortions in the state can continue, they are offered in a much more limited scope than before Roe was overturned. Earlier this year, the Republican-controlled state Legislature passed a ban on abortions after 15 weeks—the previous limit was 24 weeks.
Abortion Top Issue for Midterm Election
With the November midterms fast approaching, candidates from both sides of the aisle have made their endgame clear when it comes to abortion rights in the state.
Republican candidate Blake Masters, who is vying for a US Senate seat, stated during a recent debate that he supports the 15-week abortion ban passed earlier this year. Masters has previously stated that he supports a federal personhood law, which would classify abortion as murder and criminalize abortion completely, with no exception for rape, incest, or the mother’s life. A federal personhood law would also ban some forms of contraception.
Masters has also likened abortions to genocide and labeled abortion rights as “demonic.” However, Masters has backtracked on his extreme stance on abortion and stated that he now supports a ban on late-term abortions, which are exceptionally rare.
Masters’ opponent, incumbent Mark Kelly, vocalized his support for the right for women to choose and stated that abortion rights should be codified into federal law.
Hobbs, Lake Polar Opposites on Reproductive Rights
Republican candidate for governor Kari Lake called the pre-statehood law banning abortion a “great law” and stated that the overturning of Roe v. Wade was the “right thing to do.” After Texas passed a 6 week abortion ban, she called on the Arizona Legislature to enact the same thing.
However, Lake’s stance on abortion has grown vague throughout the governor’s race. Back in June at a campaign event, Lake stated that “the law is the law, and we need to abide by whatever the law turns out to be,” and she has avoided questions seeking clarity on her position. Her spokesman, Ross Trumble, told the Associated Press that Lake did not plan on asking the Legislature to change abortion laws.
Her opponent, Democrat Katie Hobbs, supports repealing the pre-statehood abortion ban that outlaws abortions in their entirety. According to her campaign website, Hobbs also pledges that upon her first day in office she would call a special session to repeal the “draconian 1901 law.”
“I’ve always been an advocate for safe, legal access to abortion and I’ll continue to be that advocate as governor,” Hobbs told The Copper Courier. “I’ll do everything in my power to restore access in Arizona, and I’ll veto any additional restrictions.”