All of you know by now about the draft opinion that leaked out of the U.S. Supreme Court suggesting that the court is seriously considering overturning the Roe v Wade case in its entirety. If that stands, it will remove constitutional protections for abortion rights and send the regulation of abortion to the states.
Naturally, that brings up speculation about what the impact might be in Arizona. If Roe is overturned, the impact will hinge on whether the newly signed SB1164 (restricting abortions to the first 15 weeks gestation) is the law of the land, or whether a territorial-era law from 1901 [ARS 13-3603] takes precedence.
13-3603. Definition; punishment
A person who provides, supplies or administers to a pregnant woman, or procures such woman to take any medicine, drugs or substance, or uses or employs any instrument or other means whatever, with intent thereby to procure the miscarriage of such woman, unless it is necessary to save her life, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than two years nor more than five years.
If courts determine that the new statute that Ducey just signed (limiting abortions after 15 weeks but not outlawing them before 15 weeks) (SB1164) has precedence [Chaptered Version], then abortion services will still be available in Arizona (at less than 15 weeks gestation). Because about 95% of abortions in Arizona occur at less than 15 weeks gestation, there will be little change for the majority of women seeking an abortion.
The thing is that SB1164 also says:
This act does not: Repeal, by implication or otherwise, section 13-3603, Arizona 20 Revised Statutes, or any other applicable state law regulating or restricting abortion.
While I’m not a lawyer, it looks to me like SB1164 makes it clear that the territorial era law would take immediate effect… making all abortions illegal to provide unless it is necessary to save the woman’s life (punishable by 2 to 5 years in ADOC).
Note: A plain reading of 13-3603 suggests that even “Plan B” and Intrauterine Devices may become illegal if they are determined to be a “… medicine, drug, substance or instrument” that causes a miscarriage. We’ll cover how that could impact public health and poverty on Wednesday. Tomorrow I’ll Arizona’s abortion statistics.