pima county
Pima County Attorney Pledges to Break Law if Arizona Bans Abortion

May 6, 2022

By Corinne Murdock |

Pima County Attorney Laura Conover promised to break Arizona law if the Supreme Court overrules Roe v. Wade and the state outlaws abortion. Conover vowed that those seeking or assisting in abortions wouldn’t receive any jail time on her watch. 

“We will do everything in our power to ensure that no person seeking or assisting in an abortion will spend a night in jail,” said Conover. 

Arizona’s latest abortion restriction, SB1164, banned abortions after 15 weeks. Governor Doug Ducey signed it into law in March. 

However, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade’s legalized abortion in deciding Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Arizona may revert to its original outright ban on abortion dating back to the beginning of its statehood. SB1164’s language reflected support of that outcome.

“This act does not: […] Repeal, by implication or otherwise, section 13-3602, Arizona Revised Statutes, or any other applicable state law regulating or restricting abortion,” reads the law. 

From 1901, before Arizona achieved statehood in 1912, to the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, Arizona outlawed abortion completely. Later versions of the law retained the majority of the original language but modified punishments — up until the 1973 Supreme Court ruling, anyone who performed abortions received two to five years’ prison time.

If the Supreme Court overturns the precedents established by Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, then the state may return to its total ban, which some legislators have identified as a “trigger law”: A.R.S. 13:3603.

Conover wouldn’t be the only county attorney to defy an Arizona law banning abortion. Democratic candidate for Maricopa County Attorney Julie Gunnigle pledged to disregard any restrictions or bans on abortion if she wins. Her promise focused on the latest law prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks.

Wednesday night, pro-abortion activists gathered outside the Arizona State Capitol to protest SB1164 and the Supreme Court’s draft majority opinion. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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