Arizona doctors react to AG Brnovich’s elective abortion ban announcement

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 5:35 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A century-old legislation that criminalizes anyone who performs an abortion unless the mother’s life is at risk is now in effect in Arizona.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich first made the announcement Wednesday and Thursday SCOTUS ruled that Arizona’s ban on discriminatory abortions is now in effect. Brnovich says he is proud to defend Arizona’s law that protects the unborn, but doctors are concerned what this could mean for their patients.

″I was extremely disappointed, very upset, and fearful for my patients more than anything,” OBGYN Victoria Fewell said.

She is one of several doctors speaking up following Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s abortion ban announcement. Dr. Fewell says the announcement wasn’t a surprise, but it’s devastating for her and her patients.

Under the new law, anyone who performs an abortion except to save a mother’s life can face two to five years in prison.

“It puts doctors in a position where they will have to choose between making a very hard decision, whether to save the life of their child or risk going to jail,” Dr. Fewell said.

She says this ban is something that could even lead to a shortage of physicians in Arizona.

“A lot of physicians will be discouraged and probably leave the field of medicine or move to a state where they can practice as they were trained and is evidence-based,” she said.

Even though the ban protects the life of the mother, there are a number of health risks pregnant women face and a number of reasons they may choose to get an abortion.

”There is a direct link between abortion restrictions and maternal mortality… and it’s just going to get greater,” said OBGYN DeShawn Taylor

She says the U.S. has been increasing its maternal mortality rate over time and is among the worst of developed countries. The mortality rate is also at least three times higher in women of color.

”When we say that abortion bans harm all pregnant people, we are not being alarmist, we are not being hypothetical. It’s the reality pregnant people face,” Dr. Taylor said.

In a statement, Planned Parenthood Arizona says they are prepared to challenge this ban in court and fight back against the Attorney General’s efforts.

There is no specific date for when this could be brought to court.

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