Jun 27, 2022 - Politics

Phoenix and Tucson don't want to enforce Arizona's abortion law

Illustration of a healthcare cross, half red, half blue, with the colors fighting to take over the whole cross.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Following the historic reversal of Roe v. Wade, Arizona's abortion law will soon get much stricter. But the state's two largest cities want no part in enforcing them.

Why it matters: Arizona's latest abortion law, which will take effect in September, will criminalize doctors who perform abortions after 15 weeks.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, who oversees the largest police department in the state, tells Axios she has "no interest in criminalizing health care providers" and is working with the city's attorneys to find the "most effective ways to protect our residents and women's health care."

The Tucson City Council voted earlier this month to instruct its police department not to arrest people violating state laws restricting abortion, Tucson.com reports.

What she's saying: "We have violent criminals out there shooting at our citizens. We need to put our resources where they make sense. Investigating and arresting medical professionals is not a good use of resources," Gallego says.

  • She says Phoenix police launched a new task force last week to reduce gun crimes.

The big picture: Abortion is the latest pressure point in a long-strained relationship between the conservative state government and Democrat-controlled Phoenix and Tucson.

Context: The Phoenix and Tucson city councils often disagree with state policies and try to find ways to counteract them, like withholding enforcement resources or dedicating funds to programs that minimize state law's impacts.

Yes, but: State lawmakers usually pass new bills making those city policies illegal.

The bottom line: Even if some city police departments won't assist, the state will find ways to enforce abortion laws, either through other law enforcement agencies or through the state medical licensing board.


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