Updates on the Arizona Supreme Court Hearing

A grim reminder that Arizona’s latest abortion law is nearly as bad as 1864 ban

Opinion: No matter what the Arizona Supreme Court decides concerning the territorial abortion ban, there will be no protection under Arizona law for victims of rape or incest.


The possibility of a barbaric 1864 abortion ban being implemented in Arizona has dulled the perception that the current alternative is only slightly less horrendous.

In 2022, then-Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. After that, physicians can provide abortions only in cases of medical emergency.

There are no exceptions for rape or incest.

So, no matter what decision the Arizona Supreme Court comes up with following arguments over whether to reinstate the territorial abortion ban that would put abortion providers in jail, the law in Arizona still will not protect victims of sexual violence.

Law won’t protect sexual violence victims

Most recently, virulent anti-abortion Justice William Montgomery recused himself from hearing the case. That leaves six justices to decide.

The Arizona Republic’s Ray Stern reported this week that the court has decided not to replace Montgomery, meaning there is a possibility of a 3-3 split.

It that were the case, a 2022 decision by the Arizona Court of Appeals Division Two would stand, allowing the abortion ban after 15 weeks to be the law of the land.

Without out any protection for victims of sexual violence.

A collective of organizations — including the ACLU of Arizona, Arizona List and Planned Parenthood of Arizona, among others — is gathering initiative signatures to put a constitutional amendment called the Arizona Abortion Access Act on the 2024 ballot.

It would create a “fundamental right” to obtain an abortion anytime before viability, essentially restoring rights lost when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Abortion law is best decided by voters

As her daughter Hannah Goodman looked on, Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs on Nov. 28, 2023, signed a petition for a November 2024 ballot initiative that would enshrine the right to an abortion into the Arizona Constitution.

The organization, Arizona for Abortion Access, needs to collect 383,923 valid signatures by July to get the initiative on the ballot. Which is where it belongs.

In 2022, a poll conducted by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute found that 62% of Arizonans support legalized abortion.

If we’ve learned anything after generations of legal wrangling over the abortion issue, it’s that courts are the wrong place to settle the argument.

It’s too emotional a concern. It’s tied up too much to our varying individuals senses of legal rights, our notions of legality and morality.

It will be a tough fight. And given the kind of opposition money that anti-abortion organizations like the Center for Arizona Policy could bring in, it probably will get ugly.

And it will stay ugly, no matter what the outcome.

In the end, however, it’s something best settled by us, not judges.

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