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Abortion Bans


Arizona has not repealed its pre-Roe abortion ban, which is unconstitutional and unenforceable.
The ban provides that any person who supplies to a woman any substance or employs other means with the intent to induce an abortion, unless necessary to preserve the woman's life, will be imprisoned for two to five years.  A woman who submits to the use of any means with the intent to cause an abortion, unless necessary to preserve her life, will be imprisoned for one to five years.  Any person who advertises abortion services is guilty of a misdemeanor.  Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 13-3603 (Enacted 1901; Last Renumbered 1977), 13-3604 (Enacted 1901; Last Renumbered 1977), 13-3605 (Enacted 1901; Last Renumbered 1977).

Courts have held that these provisions are unconstitutional.  Nelson v. Planned Parenthood Ctr. of Tucson, Inc., 505 P.2d 580 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1973), review denied, No. 11160-PR (Ariz. Mar. 21, 1973); State v. New Times, Inc., 511 P.2d 196 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1973).


Arizona outlaws abortion after 20 weeks* without an adequate exception to protect women's health or for cases in which the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. 

Arizona's law makes abortion after 20 weeks a criminal act, unless necessary to prevent a substantial permanent impairment of the life or physical health of the woman.  Physicians in violation of the law would be subject to up to six months imprisonment and medical license suspension or revocation.  In addition, the law allows the woman, the woman's husband, or her parents to bring a civil suit against the physician.  H.B. 2036, 2nd Reg. Sess. (Ariz. 2012) (Enacted 2012).

*The Arizona law measures gestation based on a woman's last menstrual period (LMP), in contrast to most states that measure post-fertilization.  Using the LMP standard usually adds two weeks to the gestational age; as a result, this law likely bans abortion at 18 weeks.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found the 20-week ban unconstitutional in 2013, permanently blocking its enforcement, after initially entering in an emergency injunction aganist the law. Paul A. Isaacson, M.D. et al. v. Tom Horne, Attorney General of Arizona, et al. 716 F.3d 1213 (2013).

Arizona outlaws a safe second-trimester abortion procedure with no exception to protect a woman's health.  Ariz. Rev. Stat. §13-3603.01 (Enacted 2009).

The Arizona law makes the provision of certain previability, second-trimester abortion procedures a felony and imposes a criminal penalty of imprisonment for up to two years and/or fines including statutory damages of three times the cost of the abortion unless the procedure is necessary to save the life of the woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.  Ariz. Rev. Stat. §13-3603.01 (Enacted 2009).

In 1997, a court held that an earlier version of Arizona's ban was unconstitutional because it was "void for vagueness," was an undue burden on a woman's right to choose, and had no exception to preserve the woman's health.  Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §13-3603.01 (Enacted 1997).  The court issued a permanent injunction prohibiting its enforcement.  Planned Parenthood of S. Ariz., Inc. v. Woods, 982 F. Supp. 1369 (D. Ariz. 1997).  In 2009, the Arizona legislature enacted an amended, enforceable version of the ban.  Ariz. Rev. Stat. §13-3603.01(Enacted 2009).

There is also a Federal Abortion Ban, which applies nationwide regardless of state law.  The federal ban prohibits certain second-trimester abortion procedures and has no exception for a woman's health.  In April 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban, making it the first time since Roe v. Wade that the court has upheld a ban on a previability abortion procedure.  Click here to read more about the Federal Abortion Ban.

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