Oct 4, 2022 - Health

Health providers file lawsuit to increase abortion access in Arizona

Picture of abortion rights protesters holding signs that say "my body my choice 4ever"

Abortion-rights protesters in Tucson, Arizona, on July 4. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images

Health providers in Arizona on Tuesday filed a lawsuit asking a state court to allow abortions in the state until 15 weeks.

Why it matters: Last month, a judge allowed for a pre-Roe, near-total abortion ban to take effect in Arizona, which also has a 15-week ban in the books. The plaintiffs in the case are now asking a state court to clarify which ban takes precedent for providers to follow.

Details: Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, "there has been significant confusion around the status of Arizona’s abortion laws," the lawsuit, filed by several abortion rights groups on behalf of an Arizona physician and the Arizona Medical Association, states.

  • It remains unclear whether the pre-Roe ban preempts the state's 15-week ban, which was signed into law in March.
  • "State officials with enforcement power have either refused to state which abortion laws take precedence or have taken inconsistent positions on the matter," the lawsuit states.

Between the lines: Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, applauded the ruling that allowed for the pre-Roe ban to take effect.

  • However, a spokesperson for Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, told Axios Phoenix co-authors Axios' Jeremy Duda and Jessica Boehm that the 15-week ban is the law of the land.
  • Amid the uncertainty, clinics in Arizona have stopped offering abortions.

What they're saying: "The state of Arizona has caused complete chaos by seeking to enforce clashing abortion bans, including one of the most extreme in the country," said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

  • "This has put Arizonans in an untenable situation. Providers and patients have no sense of what the law is and whether they are breaking it. The court must restore abortion access and put an end to this legal and public health crisis."
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