Jun 29, 2022 - Politics

How Arizona's constitutional right to privacy could impact abortion access

Illustration of a giant pencil drawing a line in front of a lone woman looking down at the line.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Unlike the U.S. Constitution, the Arizona Constitution includes an explicit right to privacy, which experts say will play a role in anticipated legal challenges of Arizona's restrictive new abortion laws.

Why it matters: A barrage of litigation is expected in the coming weeks and months to determine what the future of abortion will look like in the state.

Catch up quick: Roe v. Wade created a federal right to abortion based on the implied right to privacy in the 14th Amendment.

  • Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned its precedent, individual states can impose abortion restrictions.

The state legislature has passed a number of restrictions over the years, which are likely now enforceable.

  • But abortion-rights advocates will undoubtedly challenge them in court and it will be up to Arizona Supreme Court to decide whether those laws align with our state constitution, according to Stefanie Lindquist, executive director of ASU's Center for Constitutional Design.

What Arizona's constitution says: "No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law."

What she's saying: "The question is whether or not the state supreme court would find that the privacy right in the Arizona constitution actually encompasses abortion rights. And I think that's unlikely," Lindquist said.

Of note: All seven state supreme court justices were appointed by Republican governors.

Yes, but: Even courts in conservative states have found that some abortion restrictions passed by lawmakers ran afoul of their state constitutions.

  • However, some of those states, including West Virginia, then ran ballot initiatives to change their state constitutions, Lindquist said.
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