Arizona has multiple abortion bans. Which law will take effect is confusing

By Nick Sanchez
Published: Friday, July 1, 2022 - 5:39pm
Updated: Saturday, July 2, 2022 - 8:24am

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At the State Capitol, a sign reads: Bans off our bodies. "Our" is underlined.
Amber Victoria Singer/KJZZ
Protesters express discontent with the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the case granting the right to abortion, at the Arizona State Capitol on Friday, June 24, 2022.

The Supreme Court’s recent reversal of its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling has cleared the way for Arizona to ban abortion. But with the state having approved multiple abortion bans more than a century apart, confusion remains over which law will take effect.

A pre-statehood law bans all abortions unless the mother’s life is in danger, with providers facing up to five years in prison. That law is currently blocked by an injunction imposed after Roe v. Wade, which Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich wants vacated.

Meanwhile, a new law, set to take effect in September, bans nearly all abortions after 15 weeks. 

Chris Griffin is a University of Arizona law professor. 

“The reason why there is confusion is because there are several acts taken by the Arizona Legislature over time that don’t all have the same scope, and they, seemingly, are in direct conflict with each other," Griffin said. He described the possibility of both laws becoming active.  

“If the injunction were to be lifted and the 15-week ban were to be effective, according to its own terms, then I think we would have a question of interpretation for the courts,” Griffin said.

While Brnovich claims the old ban would be enforced, Gov. Doug Ducey says the new law takes precedence.

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