Arizona's old abortion laws were never repealed, could come back

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: AP) (Source: AP)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Arizona still has laws on the books that outlaw abortion and impose tough mandatory prison time.

Despite the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, the state never repealed those abortion laws, some of which date back decades before the landmark legal ruling. 

Now activists worry those laws could once again be enforced should President Donald Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court rule with enough justices to allow states to outlaw abortion.

[READ MORE: Trump announces Judge Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court pick]

[RELATED: Making Kavanaugh's nomination all about abortion will put some senators in a bind]

"One could argue that those laws remain enforceable if Roe v. Wade was overturned," said Arizona State University law professor Stefanie Lindquist.

[FAST FACTS: Roe v. Wade]

One law that's still a part of Arizona's statutes, but unenforceable right now, mandates that anyone caught providing an abortion would spend two to five years behind bars.

[RELATED: Gov. Ducey sidesteps abortion question]

Lindquist says state lawmakers may decide to revalidate the laws or a prosecutor like a state attorney general or county attorney could try to prosecute someone.

"The law, even if there was a challenge to its validity because it was old and an intervening precedent had somehow invalidated it, the Legislature could easily revalidate it," Lindquist said.

[RELATED: The plan to overturn Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court is already in motion]

[RELATED: Arizona governor OKs coercion questions before abortions]

[MORE: Arizona politics]


Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

Hide bio