PHOENIX — Arizona is one of 26 states which will be able to revert back to their pre-existing anti-abortion laws if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Arizona’s law was enacted prior to the 1973 Roe v Wade decision. Without Roe, all abortions, including ones for rape and incest, will be banned in Arizona.
“I do think we are ripe for a big change. America is ripe for modernizing our abortion laws,” said State Senator Nancy Barto (R) Phoenix-District 15.
Barto was among the hundreds of people who stood on the steps of the Supreme Court Wednesday in support and opposition to the Mississippi law.
The senator has been a leading advocate in the legislature for the right to life movement.
“The primary reason I exist in the legislature to protect women and the unborn,” Senator Barto said. “We’ve made a lot of progress but right now Roe and Casey stand in the way of fully protecting women and that needs to be updated.”
The Arizona legislature removed criminal penalties against women from the abortion law during the last session. But those penalties are still in place for providers.
“Unfortunately I don’t believe the Republican majority is going to do anything to protect a person’s right to decide whether or not to be pregnant,” said State Representative Athena Salman, (D) Tempe-District 26.
Salman, who herself is 34 weeks pregnant, believes, like Senator Barto, the U.S. Supreme Court will make significant changes to Roe v Wade. “I’m just thinking like in a year from now, less than a year from now, I will no longer have that right nor will anyone living in Arizona, when the Supreme Court upholds the ban on abortion,” Representative Salman said.
The Court’s opinion on the Mississippi abortion law is not expected until June or July. That would be after the next legislative session.
In the meantime, State Senator Barto says she expects more anti-abortion legislation to be filed by Republicans in January. Barto thinks a bill similar to the Texas heartbeat law will be introduced.
The Supreme Court allowed the law to take effect while it’s being litigated in court.