Throughout Arizona’s history as a state, the criminal code authorized penalties against any person who performed or procured an abortion for a pregnant woman. In 1971, Planned Parenthood Center of Tucson challenged that law on state and federal constitutional grounds. In early 1973, the state intermediate appellate court upheld the criminal law as constitutional. Shortly thereafter, SCOTUS issued Roe v. Wade recognizing a federal constitutional right to abortion. And the Arizona appellate court then enjoined enforcement of the state’s criminal abortion law.

The Arizona legislature codified numerous abortion-related laws in the ensuing years. One such law, enacted in 2022, adopted a “15-week ban.” Later that same year, SCOTUS issued its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe and concluded that the federal constitution does not support a right to abortion.

Dobbs thus set a collision course for two Arizona laws: the previously enjoined but still on-the-books criminal law from 1973 and the 2022 15-week ban. On April 9, 2024, the Arizona Supreme Court issued its opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Mayes / Hazelrigg, resolving the question of which law currently governs.

Hon. James D. Smith will join us to break down the majority and dissenting opinions.

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Published in: General