Delay in Arizona abortion law creates confusion, chaos

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 8:08 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Now that the US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v Wade, what’s the law in Arizona?

No one, not even the Arizona State Attorney General, Mark Brnovich knows for sure.

And that’s because Arizona has two abortion laws on the books.

Gov. Doug Ducey signed Police: Gun fired at downtown Hub Apartments into law March 30, 2022. It bans abortions after 15 weeks except to save the of the mother. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. The law will take effect 90 days after the end of the legislative session which was on June 24, 2022.

Arizona also has a law on the books which was passed in Territorial days in 1901 which also include the exception for the life of the mother. However, those who aid a woman in getting an abortion face not less than two nor more than five years in prison.

We asked the Attorney General’s office which law will be Arizona’s law and we were told the office is “still analyzing this.”

A later email from Brittni Thomason with the AG’s Office expanded it a bit to read:

“Our office is engaged in ongoing litigation in federal court where the Ninth Circuit has requested us to formally weigh in on this very issue. We anticipate filing a legal brief next week. Until we’re done with our legal analysis, we encourage you to reach out to the county attorneys who have primary jurisdiction in this matter.”

Still, it means that Planned Parenthood and other abortion service providers are in flux, so have suspended all abortion services until there is clarity in the law.

“We are working diligently with our legal team of attorney’s to understand Arizona’s tangled web of conflicting laws so that we can insure patients know what their rights are,” said Brittany Fonteno, President of Planned Parenthood.

“That is the piece that creates all kinds of chaos,” said Stephanie Stahl Hamilton, a Democratic State Senator from District 10. “I think that was the intent so that when Roe was overturned that there would be this chaos.”

And during the chaos, the abortion providers will shut down as a precaution.

“They want to create chaos and confusion because then it makes people scared to be able to exercise their fundamental right to abortion,” said Fonteno. “It creates fear for providers.”

And some wonder if that’s the point because it fills the gap between the Supreme Court’s decision and the date when Arizona’s 15-week ban takes effect.

“This isn’t the first time where there’s been conflicting laws on the books and the decision has taken a while only to be revealed later that is was part of the political process,” Stahl Hamilton said.

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