Arizona is the latest state to pass a legal ban on abortion at a much earlier stage in pregnancy than is recognized by Roe v. Wade. The Grand Canyon State’s legislature passed a 15-week ban on Thursday, sending the bill to the desk of pro-life Gov. Doug Ducey.
Passing the bill comes in the wake of similar action recently in Florida and as the U.S. Supreme Court considers a case that is seen as a serious challenge to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
Arizona’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted along party lines to ban abortion after 15 weeks gestation, with no exceptions for rape, incest or medical emergencies. Arizona already has a law on the books that would ban abortion if the Supreme Court reverses Roe.
Louisiana and Mississippi also have 15-week bans, while 10 other states ban the procedure even earlier, at six weeks, when a fetal heartbeat is detected. The Mississippi law is the one at issue in the Dobbs v. Jackson case at the Supreme Court.
This month, Idaho legislators passed a 6-week ban on abortion that takes a page from a controversial law in Texas, which allows citizens to enforce the law. And in February, members of the Republican-majority House of Representatives in Florida passed a bill banning most abortions after 15 weeks gestation.
In Phoenix, minority Democrats said the new 15-week measure is unconstitutional and that any ban would disproportionally impact poor and minority women who won’t be able to travel to states without strict abortion laws, the Associated Press reported.
But Sen. Nancy Barto, a Republican who sponsored the bill, said she hopes the Supreme Court upholds Mississippi’s 15-week ban in the Dobbs case.
“The state has an obligation to protect life,” Barto said. “And that is what this bill is about.”