By Ray Stern |Arizona Republic
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned Roe vs. Wade and allows states to set their own course on abortion laws — so what does that mean for Arizona now?
Uncertainty, at least at first.
Expect an immediate challenge to the state’s anti-abortion laws and a direct or implied threat of prosecution for abortion providers, several experts told The Arizona Republic. They pose the most likely scenario as an initial fight to determine which of two anti-abortion laws — one 158 years old and another brand new — will take precedence.
The old law, created in Arizona’s territorial days, is a strict ban on providing or helping to provide an abortion, except to save the mother’s life. It calls for a mandatory prison sentence of two to five years for violators.
Republicans in the state Legislature passed the new anti-abortion law this year; Gov. Doug Ducey signed it into law in March. Scheduled to take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns its current session (something that may happen by the end of June), it bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy except if necessary to save the mother’s life. Violating physicians face potential felony charges and loss of their professional licenses.
The state court system, likely the Arizona Supreme Court, will be needed to settle the issue as women seeking abortions and abortion service providers wait for guidance.