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A 1901 Arizona law could ban abortions in the state if Roe v. Wade is overturned

The U.S. Supreme Court.
Courtesy
/
AP
The recent revelation that the U.S. Supreme Court may be on the cusp of overturning Roe versus Wade has cast uncertainty over the future of abortion access in many states.

The recent revelation that the U.S. Supreme Court may be on the cusp of overturning Roe versus Wade has cast uncertainty over the future of abortion access in many states. In Arizona, the procedure could be almost totally outlawed if the court decision becomes official.

A 1901 law passed when Arizona was still a U.S. territory makes abortion illegal unless it’s needed to save the woman’s life. If Roe is overturned by the Supreme Court, it’s possible that law would immediately go into effect, punishing Arizona abortion providers with two to five years in prison if they’re found guilty.

In March, Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill into law that bans abortion after 15 weeks but doesn’t repeal the older statute. The new law also only allows ending pregnancies when the woman’s life is threatened and makes no exceptions for rape or incest. It’s set to go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.

Arizona’s newest attempt to limit abortions mirrors the Mississippi law at the heart of the current Supreme Court case. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also signed an identical bill into law last month.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that advocates for reproductive rights, 26 states are either likely or certain to ban abortion if Roe is overturned.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.