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Sebastian's Point

Sebastian's Point is a weekly column written by one of our members regarding timely events or analysis of relevant ideas, which impact the Culture of Life. All regular members are invited to submit a column for publication at Columns should be between 800 to 1300 words and comply with the high standards expected in academic writing, including proper citations of authority or assertions referred to in your column. Please see, Submission Requirements for more details.

The Overturning of Roe by the Supreme Court Has Left Arizona in a State of Uncertainty

Jamie Jeffries


Abortion on Trial  |  21 November 2022

Arizona originally outlawed nearly all abortions in 1864. After the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v Wade in the early 1970s Arizona reverted to viability limits with providers performing abortions until 20-24 weeks. Most recently in 2021 Republican Governor Doug Ducey signed a 15-week gestational limit into Arizona Law. Now, with the Supreme Court’s recent reversal of their previous ruling on abortion, and what seems to be an inevitable shift of political power in Arizona, it’s unclear what will happen next.


2022 election results appear to have abortion-supporting Democrat, Katie Hobbs, as the winner for Arizona’s new Governor. If this election result stands, Arizona could be facing major legal changes regarding abortion in the very near future. Hobbs has openly declared herself for abortion rights and has vowed to support unrestricted abortion in all three trimesters to Arizona.[i] “It’s between a woman and her doctor” regardless of gestational age, according to the Governor-elect. She has even stated she plans to undo previously implemented restrictions like obtaining abortions solely for disability diagnosis, making ableism via abortion legal in Arizona once more.[ii]


As it stands, Arizona does have anti-abortion legislation on the books. Whether it is the 1864 ruling or Ducey’s 2021 fifteen-week ban is not clear to anyone…including state and city officials. The ACLU has launched suits in hopes of stopping any abortion-restricting legislation from standing.[iii] As a result, police forces and district attorneys in major cities like Phoenix have stated they will not be prosecuting any abortion-related case or holding providers accountable to either of the existing laws that Arizona is juggling.[iv] Previously respected restrictions such as a 24-hour waiting period, parental notification laws, and mandated reporting laws can all be openly disregarded in Arizona now.


Arizona abortion providers have resumed business as usual and are performing abortions up to 20 weeks once again. Planned Parenthood has set up referral networks to late-term abortion facilities in Colorado and New Mexico to accommodate Arizona women seeking a late-term abortion until Hobbs’ abortion agenda takes effect. There are currently seven open Planned Parenthoods in Arizona and countless private providers. All of whom are free to continue abortion services until told otherwise.


Current judicial action regarding Arizona abortion regulations has prohibited enforcement of multiple laws including:

  • Penalties to Provider (A.R.S. § 13-3603): Prohibits all abortions unless necessary to save life of the mother. Unenforceable due to Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).

  • A Woman May Not Seek an Abortion (A.R.S. § 13-3604): A woman may not seek an abortion “unless it is necessary to preserve her life.” Unenforceable due to Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).

  • No Advertising for Abortions (A.R.S. §13-3605): Prohibits advertising for abortion services. Unenforceable due to Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).

  • Review of Ultrasound Results (A.R.S. § 36-2301.02): Requires DHS to contract with a private company to review ultrasounds for abortions performed after 12 weeks to confirm gestational age. Unenforceable due to Tucson Woman’s Clinic v. Eden, 379 F.3d 531 (9th Cir. 2004).

  • Prohibiting Abortions Past 20 Weeks of Pregnancy (A.R.S. § 36-2159): Prohibits abortions past 20 weeks gestation, except in the case of a medical emergency. Unenforceable due to Isaacson v. Horne, 716 F.3d 1213 (9th Cir. 2013).

  • Prohibition on Backdoor Funding of Abortion Providers (A.R.S. § 35-196.05(B)): Prohibits federal tax dollars that pass through the state from going to abortion providers. Unenforceable due to Planned Parenthood Ariz. v. Betlach, 727 F.3d 960 (9th Cir. 2013)


With the multiple unenforceable laws, city authorities refusing to prosecute abortion-related crimes, and the impending shift from Republican to Democrat leadership, the only certainty regarding abortion in Arizona right now is that women and children are not being protected. The law is not only unclear, but also openly disobeyed without repercussions. Pro-life groups and advocates in the state are drowning in work with little to no support from the national-level pro-life community. Arizona women are still getting in state abortions in the first and second trimesters, and they’re still being referred to clinics like Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque New Mexico for third-trimester abortions. Sadly, the abortion culture of Arizona hasn’t improved since the reversal of Roe. If anything, it’s gotten much worse.


[i] Bradford Betz (2022), “Arizona Dem gov nominee Katie Hobbs appears to support abortion up to birth”, Fox News

[ii] Katie Hobbs (2022), Bans Off Our Bodies,

[iii] ACLU (2022),

[iv] Peter Valencia (2022), “Maricopa County Attorney says she won’t prosecute women who seek abortion”

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