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Arizona Abortion Laws

Arizona state politicians have consistently pushed to curb and limit abortion rights via statute. Not all of these laws have survived court review, however. Arizona abortion laws have repeatedly been challenged in federal appeals courts on constitutionality grounds. The legal challenges to state abortion laws have made national headlines.

In 2012, an Arizona abortion law was passed that prohibited abortions, except in certain medical emergencies, when the fetus reaches 20 weeks gestation, dated from the woman’s last menstrual period. The law’s definition of medical emergency was narrow, encompassing conditions requiring an immediate abortion to avert a pregnant woman’s death or a “serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

In 2013, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled the law was unconstitutional “under a long line of invariant Supreme Court precedents,” starting with Roe v. Wade. In 1973, that landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision established the limited right of a woman to have an abortion. In the decades since, abortion has become a divisive issue in the United States.  

Groups opposed to abortion have mobilized in search of ways to reduce access to abortions. Arizona has proven to be a battleground state. These groups (known as "pro-life") have sponsored legislation limiting access to abortion and have attempted to chip away at Roe v. Wade in various ways.  

Arizona isn't the only battleground abortion state. Many states have restricted the procedure through various regulatory and statutory tactics. 

The main provisions of Arizona abortion laws are highlighted in the table below. See FindLaw's Reproductive Rights section to learn more.

Code Section 13-3603; 36-2152
Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion By drug, instrument with intent to procure miscarriage (unless necessary to save mother's life). Partial Birth Abortion: Felony unless to save the life of the mother if no other medical procedure would save the mother's life
Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion Necessary to preserve life of mother
Penalty for Unlawful Abortion Imprisonment 2 to 5 years
Consent Requirements Written consent of one parent or legal guardian if unmarried or unemancipated patient is under 18, except by court order or medical emergency
Residency Requirements for Patients -
Physician Licensing Requirements -

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact an Arizona constitutional attorney or health care attorney, or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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