Will Utah’s new abortion law have an impact on Arizona clinics?

Arizona’s Family talked to an abortion clinic doctor in Arizona about whether they expect women to cross the state line for the procedure.
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 8:25 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 27, 2023 at 9:53 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Changes to abortion rules in a neighboring state could possibly impact Arizona. Utah will stop licensing abortion clinics next week and ban them altogether next year.

Arizona’s Family talked to an abortion clinic doctor in Arizona about whether they expect women to cross the state line for the procedure. The important factor is that most abortions are performed at clinics, and in Utah, Planned Parenthood said clinics perform 95% of them.

Abortion access has been ever-changing since Roe v. Wade was overturned last year, and now Arizona doctors have another state to pay attention to. “A law that bans abortions in clinics is essentially an abortion ban. Most doctors in hospitals do not do abortions, and if they are done, they’re usually to save the life of the other,” said Dr. Gabrielle Goodrick, the Medical Director at Camelback Family Planning.

She’s talking about the law Utah’s governor signed last month. Starting next week, Utah will stop giving licenses to abortion clinics and completely ban abortions at clinics at the start of 2024, only allowing them in hospitals.

Dr. Goodrick said for financial reasons alone, that’s not accessible for many women. “Any kind of care you receive in a hospital goes toward your deducible that could be 5, 8, 10,000 dollars. This is exorbitant for people,” said Dr. Goodrick.

The Utah governor told the media he would sign the bill because it would address legal liability concerns providers had voiced and would clarify what is a legal abortion procedure going forward. Since recent law changes in the country, Dr. Goodrick has seen women come to Arizona for abortions from Texas, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky, even with our 15-week ban.

She said they’ve tried to make these patients as comfortable as possible. “It’s extremely stressful financially, emotionally, physically on women and their families,” she said.

So, could Utah women come to Arizona abortion clinics now? Certainly. But, Dr. Goodrick said she expects those women to look at Las Vegas or California first. “There aren’t really good abortion services in northern Arizona, so I don’t know if they will come down to Phoenix, which is where most of the abortion providers are in the state,” Dr. Goodrick said.

Dr. Goodrick said at some Arizona clinics, there is already a six to eight-week waiting period to get an abortion, but at her clinic and others, they can accommodate patients in a matter of days. There’s a hearing on the new law in Utah Friday before it takes effect next week.