Many in our communities have questions about what will happen in Arizona now that Roe v. Wade is overturned.
We asked our readers to submit their questions about abortion rights in Arizona in an effort to help clarify the confusing political landscape around reproductive justice.
Here are the answers to those questions:
Is abortion legal in Arizona?
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has overturned Roe vs. Wade and allows states to put their own policy on abortion access.
Most abortion providers have halted services due to fear that they could be jailed for performing the medical procedure. A motion to block a state law that grants citizenship rights to fetuses was filed by abortion rights groups in Arizona.
That recent law signed by Gov. Doug Ducey in March has added more restrictions on abortion access limiting the procedure to 15 weeks of pregnancy. The bill sponsored by Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, will not go into effect until 90 days after the end of the legislative session like most other bills. The legislative session typically ends in June.
The state Legislature has also passed laws on when a patient can have the procedure deeming it available up until “viability.” That means until the fetus has developed enough where it is able to survive outside the uterus with medical help. This is about 24 to 26 weeks of pregnancy.
Roe v. Wade repeal: What is the law for abortions in Arizona now?
How old do you have to be to get an abortion in Arizona?
You must be 18 years old in order to get an abortion in Arizona.
If you are under the age of 18, a parent or legal guardian must give you permission to get an abortion in Arizona. Otherwise, as a minor, you are able to apply for a judicial bypass if this is unavailable.
Does Arizona have an abortion trigger law?
A “trigger” law is one that is designed to take effect automatically now that Roe v. Wade is overturned. There are 13 states that have a law like this on the books: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
Notably, Arizona is not one of them.
However, before Roe, the state passed a law in the late 1800s that calls for mandatory prison time for providers who perform the procedure at any point in a pregnancy.
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Does the Arizona Constitution protect the right to access an abortion?
The legal argument at the federal level is that the U.S. Constitution does not specify a right to abortion access. The precedent set by Roe v. Wade has long been a pillar for pro-abortion legislation. However, with the Supreme Court decision, the legality of abortions is up to state governments.
The Arizona Constitution has a line that reads, “No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law.”
Ray Stern, The Arizona Republic’s state politics and issues reporter, has done a lot of reporting to make sense of how local government would respond.
Stern explains, “Lawyers can debate what this means, but it’s worth noting that the same people that added this into the Constitution in 1910 also included the anti-abortion law with mandatory prison, and the state had no problems enforcing that law until 1973, despite the privacy clause.”
Currently, the state does not have direct language in the Constitution that explicitly protects this right. A group of reproductive justice activists, health care professionals and advocates are pushing to change that during the midterm elections.
Vying for the ballot: Group starts effort for initiative to make abortion a constitutional right in Arizona
Since Roe v. Wade is overturned, will Arizona’s old law outlawing abortion become law? Or will the governor’s new 15-week abortion ban become law?
At this point it is unclear which law will be the face of abortion law in Arizona.
The current legal landscape on abortion rights in Arizona is full of overlapping laws that restrict access to the procedure. The recent passing of a 15-week ban is just another layer added to the web of anti-abortion laws.
Stern has been asking legal experts, such as Arizona State University’s Paul Bender, to figure out the law of the land. Bender believes the 1864 law would take effect, however, Ducey has stated that the 15-week ban would be law.
“I’ve also been told that no law will automatically take effect to the extent that it could be enforced immediately, and that legislative lawyers would have to get involved in determining how a Roe reversal in Arizona would play out,” Stern explains.
Which Arizona state representative can I call about abortion laws?
The Arizona Legislature passed restrictions on abortion access this year along party lines, with Democrats voting against the restrictions. This was one instance in a larger national effort to cut back on abortion access by anti-abortion advocates.
Informing yourself on who your district representative is a good start for knowing who to reach out to. The Arizona Legislature has a tool for folks to find out who that is.
In which states is abortion illegal in 2022?
Before the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling that overturned Roe. v. Wade, the only state that had made abortion at any term illegal is Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the nation’s toughest anti-abortion law in May, making abortions illegal except in cases of rape or incest reported to law enforcement or to save the life of the mother. The law also allows private citizens to sue anyone who helps a woman get an abortion.
Several states have trigger laws that will put abortion restrictions in place now that Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Abortion laws by state: Searchable database of state-by-state abortion limits and protections
Is abortion legal in Mexico?
Last year the Supreme Court in Mexico ruled that abortion would no longer be a crime in the country. The decriminalization of abortion bars people from being jailed for having the procedure.
This has prompted states to lift local restrictions and legalize it, like Baja California, Baja California Sur, Colima, Mexico City, Oaxaca and Coahuila, where the case for the Supreme Court originated.
The state bordering Arizona, Sonora, has some of the most restrictive laws in place on abortion access. The only exceptions made are in cases of rape or health risk up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Are taxpayers still paying for abortions?
Arizona taxpayers almost never pay for abortions. The rare instances in which state money is used are when attempting to save the mother’s life.
In 2020, 13,273 abortions were performed in Arizona. Of those, only three were paid for by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System or AHCCCS, which is the state’s Medicaid agency, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services’ 2020 Abortion Report.
Stephanie Innes, a health reporter for The Republic, explains that health plans that use public money only cover abortions in very specific instances.
“Health plans offered in the state’s health exchange under the Affordable Care Act can only cover abortion in cases of life endangerment or severely compromised physical health,” she said.
This also applies to public employees and how their health insurance covers abortions.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Roe v. Wade overturned: What Arizonans need to know now