Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, abortions in Arizona are regulated by state law.
The state health department keeps abortion figures as part of its vital statistics page. The compiled data looks at abortion rates between 2009 and 2019. While this is missing for the past few years, it still gives us some idea of what the impact of the Dobbs decision will be. The data from the state department reflects all abortions done in the state regardless of circumstance.
In this 10-year time frame, there have been over 139,000 abortions performed in Arizona. After rising from 10,271 in 2009 to a peak of 14,401 in 2011, the number of abortions done annually averaged about 13,000. When compared to the reported fertility rate, the abortion rate is significantly lower, but stable at just under 10 per 1,000 women of childbearing age. Fertility rates have dropped in the 10 years between 2009 and 2019, but it's a phenomenon that is occurring in most states.
Black and African American women in Arizona stand to be the most impacted by any future abortion restrictions at most double the rate of the next highest ethnicity category, Hispanic women. White, Non-Hispanic women, the most populous category, have an abortion rate of just over seven per 1,000.
Arizona is currently sitting in a legal gray area when it comes to abortions.
In September of this year, a new law is supposed to kick in that restricts abortions after 15 weeks. It remains to be seen if that will be the law that governs abortions or a much older territorial law that would ban all abortion procedures with only one exception: if it's done to save a woman's life.
In either case, 91% of abortions in Arizona are performed at under 13 weeks of gestational age. When broken down further, most abortions in the state are performed at under six weeks, while 75% occur before nine weeks. Every subsequent week after that, they are performed at much less frequency.
Supreme Court decisions that alter longstanding precedent are extremely rare. According to the Supreme Court Database, there were 7,103 opinions issued by the court between 1946 and 2020. Only 177 of these opinions are considered precedent-altering, under 3%. Overturning landmark decisions are even rarer. Only 16, now 18 with Dobbs, landmark decisions have been overturned according to the National Constitution Center.