Supreme Court ends Roe v. Wade protections allowing Arizona to ban abortions after 15 weeks

Parties from both sides are ramping up to fight over abortion in Arizona following the Roe v. Wade decision.
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 7:14 AM MST|Updated: Jun. 24, 2022 at 12:53 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Friday’s ruling by the Supreme Court ending abortion protections under Roe vs. Wade will allow Arizona’s newly created abortion ban to move forward. In March, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed into law SB 1164, which prohibits abortions after 15 weeks. After learning of the ruling, Planned Parenthood Arizona said they will immediately suspend all abortion services at their family planning centers.

What the ruling means for Arizona

Political control: Both legislative chambers are controlled by Republicans, who regularly pass abortion restrictions that for the past eight sessions have been quickly signed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, an abortion opponent.

Background: Arizona law allows abortion through about 22 weeks, but the Legislature passed a 15-week abortion ban in March mirroring the Mississippi law currently being contested before the U.S. Supreme Court. It will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns, which is expected in late June. Current restrictions include bans on abortions because of gender and a 2021 law that makes it a felony for a doctor to terminate a pregnancy because the child has a survivable genetic abnormality. Arizona also has a pre-statehood law still on the books that would ban all abortions, although it has not been enforced since Roe was decided.

Effect of Supreme Court ruling: If the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the Mississippi law, the new 15-week ban would take effect as planned. If it overturns Roe, Ducey has argued in media interviews that the law he signed in late March takes precedence over the total ban that remains on the books. But the law he signed specifically says it does not overrule the total abortion ban in place for more than 100 years. Ducey is term-limited and leaves office in January.

What’s next: Abortion-rights supporters in Arizona have launched a long-shot bid to enshrine the right to abortion in the state constitution. Rolled out weeks after the draft U.S. Supreme Court decision showing Roe could be overturned was leaked, backers must collect more than 356,000 signatures by July 7 to get the initiative on the November ballot. Voters would then be able to decide.

SB 1164 makes it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion after 15 weeks but would prohibit the prosecution of pregnant people for receiving one. Doctors could face felony charges and lose their license to practice medicine. There is an exception for cases when the mother is at risk of death or serious permanent injury, but not for instances of rape or incest. It would also ban abortions for families that learn in pregnancy later on that a fetus is not viable. SB 1164 passed along a party-line vote in the Republican-controlled House.

Arizona policymakers react

Gov. Doug Ducey tweeted the following about the landmark decision calling Roe vs. Wade a “poorly-reasoned ruling that had no Constitutional basis.”

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who is also running for U.S. Senate released a statement shortly after the ruling praising the high court’s decision. “Attorneys General have a solemn responsibility to defend the most vulnerable among us, and that’s exactly what we did today. I look forward to seeing the issue returned to elected representatives where it belongs. As Americans, we believe in the dignity and value of every person.”