NewsLocal News


Future of abortion laws unclear in Arizona after U.S. Supreme Court leak

Arizona capitol
Posted at 6:53 PM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 22:07:42-04

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey claims that all abortions will not become illegal in Arizona if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the Roe v Wade decision which allows women the right to have an abortion.

In March, the governor signed into law a bill outlawing abortions after 15 weeks. It's identical to the Mississippi law the U.S. Supreme Court is considering now. This week a draft copy of the Court's majority opinion in the case was leaked indicating the likelihood the historic case will be overturned.

"We don't know what the future holds. What I do know is I have signed a law in Arizona. It will become law in 90 days after the session ends. That's how we're going to proceed," Ducey said.

Republican State Senator Nancy Barto of Phoenix was at the Supreme Court in December when the State of Mississippi argued in support of its law banning abortions after 15 weeks.

Barto sponsored the version of the Mississippi law passed by the Arizona Legislature and signed by the governor. But Senator Barto told ABC15 in December and repeated last week to the Capitol Media Services, "The 15-week ban does not replace the underlying law." Barto made it clear to ABC15, "Arizona has a pre-Roe law on the books that bans abortion. So that would immediately go into effect, and we would defend that law."

It isn't just Senator Barto who believes the governor is misreading the law.

"What the governor said is what he thinks is going to happen," said Tucson Democratic State Senator Victoria Steele, who opposes both abortion laws. "This is sort of a Sophie's choice moment. You're asking me to pick one horrible law over one hideous law. Choose your evil. This is terrible. They're both awful," Steele said.

Legal experts contacted by ABC15 see a legal battle coming over what law will take precedence. The Supreme Court may be ending the legal battle over Roe. But the turf battles over the law of land in Arizona are only getting started.