Doctors raise concerns about confusion surrounding Arizona abortion laws

Dr. Viktoria Krajnc and Dr. Sarah Thomas said the AG’s opinion has created additional confusion about what kind of care patients are allowed to receive.
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 5:18 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- There is a lot of confusion right now about Arizona’s abortion laws. State Attorney General Mark Brnovich claims a 158-year-old law banning all abortions is in effect. However, Gov. Doug Ducey believes a recently passed law that bans abortions after 15 weeks will take precedence on Sept. 24.

On Thursday, state Democrats held a news conference with local physicians to voice their disdain for the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision — overturning Roe v. Wade. They also expressed outrage over Brnovich’s statement that the total abortion ban is the governing law in the state, based on the territorial law that passed a century and a half ago.

Dr. Viktoria Krajnc and Dr. Sarah Thomas said the AG’s opinion has created additional confusion about what kind of care patients are allowed to receive. “I think that doctors should not have a patient in front of them and have to decide whether to provide emergency life saving care, or call their lawyer first, and risk if that is OK under these new laws,” said Krajnc.

“So many people who find themselves in a difficult situation will be suddenly stranded today,” said Thomas.

As a result of the legal confusion, all healthcare providers in Arizona have suspended abortion services until the issue is sorted out in court. And that’s just fine with Lori Zee Gray with the Arizona Life Coalition.

Gray said she had an abortion when she was 20, a decision she has regretted ever since. She is hopeful Arizona will be a place where all abortions are illegal. “I personally believe that abortion destroys families, and hurts men and women,” said Gray. “It should be limited to only in cases to save the life of the mother.”

Pro-choice advocates claim the longer the legal uncertainty surrounding abortion continues in Arizona, the more damage will be done. “People are scared,” said Kranjc. “People are nervous. People are confused and that is just as bad.”

Brittni Thomason, Spokesperson for Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, released this statement regarding the 158-year-old Arizona abortion law.

“The Arizona Legislature re-codified 13-3603 in 1977. Additionally, recent legislation passed by lawmakers and signed by the governor expresses that 13-3603 is still a valid law and not repealed. Our office will soon be moving to lift the injunction in Pima County in order to provide further clarity and uniformity. However, the county attorneys continue to have primary criminal jurisdiction in matters related to 13-3603.”