How 3 Arizona cities might push back against an abortion ban

In addition to a territorial-era ban, Arizona has laws banning abortions after 15 weeks and granting “personhood” to fetuses. /Photo by Daisy Gonzalez-Perez/Cronkite News

By Sam Kmack | Arizona Republic

Amid legal fights over whether Arizona’s 1864 abortion ban will be the law of the land, three cities that have at times challenged state rules — Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson — are getting ready to push back with policies of their own. 

All three cities have taken some steps already, like directing their police officers not to enforce the state’s 158-year-old law, which Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and others hope to get back to enforcing soon.

Another law signed this year by Gov. Doug Ducey, which bans the termination of a pregnancy after 15 weeks, may win out in court — but the chaos caused by that uncertainty has already driven off major providers such as Planned Parenthood.

“Arizona’s multiple, conflicting abortion laws on the books have trapped providers and patients in limbo, leaving them without any sense of whether they can provide and access abortion care,” Gail Deady of the Center for Reproductive Rights said. 

Access to abortion in Arizona will be drastically limited regardless of which law sticks, prompting officials, such as Phoenix Councilwoman Yassamin Ansari, to call on their cities to fund travel for women who need to go out of state to get the procedure. 

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said that the city is “considering similar measures,” and

Tempe City Councilmember Randy Keating was one of the officials who launched the city’s new effort.

“Time is of the essence,” he told The Arizona Republic. “(City staff) will come back with the logistics of it (and) the legality of it, and I’m confident it is legal — it’s well within our authority. They just have to come up with a policy.”

The 1864 Arizona law:Planned Parenthood responds to effort to re-impose 1864 Arizona law, asks court to keep abortions legal

Phoenix will vote before October

Phoenix officials haven’t yet taken official steps to push-back against the June 24 overturning of Roe or Arizona’s proposed ban, but numerous city officials expect to take action soon. 

Jeanine L’Ecuyer, director of communications for Mayor Kate Gallego, said a policy is coming down the chute that will allow City Council members to decide whether to take three main actions: 

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