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Doctors packing up despite ruling on personhood law

Posted at 8:21 PM, Jul 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 01:53:05-04

PHOENIX — Some abortion providers are preparing to close their doors for good, even while some legal challenges to Arizona abortion legislation play out in the courts.

"It's surreal to be here and not doing the work that we value and have been doing for so long," said Dr. Paul Issacson.

Dr. Issacson has been providing abortions here in Arizona full time for almost 20 years.

Now, as an independent provider, he and his staff are in a waiting game.

"Having to stop providing services for the first time in this practice and close everything up has been devastating," said clinic director Tonya.

Boxes now line the hallways, and the waiting rooms are empty.

At one time Dr. Issacson says he was seeing 30 to 40 patients a day, but now they are seeing a small fraction of that.

"We're seeing four or five patients a day for follow ups and ultrasounds," said Dr. Issacson.

To try and help his staff, and keep up with the costs of insurance and rent, Dr. Issacson started a GoFundMe.

"We're trying to keep our staff as long as we can," said Dr. Issacson. "There’s this possibility that things may change, and we may be able to open up. So, we just don’t know what to do yet."

Adding to the confusion, the legal limbo the state is in.

This week, US District Judge announced his decision to grant an emergency injunction, blocking the personhood law from being used to criminalize abortion providers.

The 2021 statute essentially gives all legal rights to unborn children.

The State Attorney General Mark Brnovich office released a statement after the ruling:

"[Monday's] ruling was based on an interpretation of Arizona law that our office did not agree with, and we are carefully considering our next steps," said a spokesperso for the AG's office, Brittini Thomason. "Our focus remains on bringing clarity to the law for Arizonans."

"That is a step," said Dr. Issacson, who was a part of the lawsuit seeking the emergency injunction. "There remain blocks to us feeling comfortable providing any abortions in Arizona"

Clarity is what Dr. Issacson says he is still waiting on.

The AG and the Interim Maricopa County Attorney have said a territorial law banning almost all abortions is in place.

That law targets the providers, and outlaws abortions unless the mother's life is at risk.

The AG has repeatedly ignored ABC15's requests for an interview.

For now, Dr. Issacson is putting things in storage.

"We don’t know when that clarity will come and what that clarity will be," said Dr. Issacson.