FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHOENIX – Arizona abortion providers celebrated a ruling from the Supreme Court today affirming the right to safe, legal abortion. In a 5-4 decision, the Court struck down a medically unnecessary Louisiana law requiring providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The court ruled that Louisiana’s abortion restriction, which is identical to one it struck down four years ago in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, cannot stand under that precedent — it is unconstitutional to impose medically unnecessary laws that burden a person’s right to safe, legal abortion. The fight to undo these damaging laws continues, though. In Arizona, anti-abortion state legislators have passed layers of medically unnecessary restrictions that has pushed abortion out of reach for many areas of the state. Legislators who support abortion access introduced legislation in 2020 that would have repealed the most dangerous of Arizona’s restrictions. Republican leaders in the state legislature prevented these bills from getting a hearing.
“The Supreme Court has once again affirmed the right to safe, legal abortion,” said Bryan Howard, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Arizona. “While it is encouraging that the Court struck down this burdensome, dangerous Louisiana law, we know that we have decades of politically-motivated, medically unnecessary abortion restrictions to undo here in Arizona. We’ve already seen the damaging effect that these layers of restrictions have for our patients – now is the time for our elected leaders to begin working to repeal them.”
Today’s ruling, nevertheless, serves as a reminder that abortion access is extremely vulnerable in Arizona as there are still laws on the books to criminalize a person for receiving an abortion, the provider or anyone who writes or publishes a notice or advertisement for it. Roe v. Wade is the only reason those laws – which carry punishment of up to five years in prison for both patient and doctor – aren’t in effect. Sixteen other cases on abortion access are still one step away from the Supreme Court — and any one of them opens the door to restrict or nullify Roe v. Wade altogether. That is why it is critical that our state elected officials represent us, repeal those archaic laws, and ensure that Arizonans will always have abortion care when they need it.
"Today’s ruling in Louisiana is a huge success for the providers and patients but serves as a reminder that the already burdensome access to abortion care is always on the edge of a line,” said Eloisa Lopez, the Chair of Abortion Fund of Arizona. “Arizona already navigates a number of TRAP laws, and access to safe and legal care could change at any moment. Pro-Choice Arizona and the Abortion Fund of Arizona sees daily the struggles that folks across the state face to access this basic healthcare need, especially among communities of color. As an autonomous local grassroots organization, we provide a wide range of services for callers, including paying for abortion procedures, transportation, lodging, childcare support, education, and advocacy work. Keeping abortion legal is not enough. Laws that ensure access to abortion care in every way possible is what’s needed to truly obtain the bodily autonomy and freedom we are fighting for."
“We are relieved that the people in Louisiana will retain the three clinics in the state providing abortion care,” said Dr. DeShawn Taylor, a clinic owner and abortion provider. “Desert Star Family Planning envisions a world where people can get just, dignified, and exceptional care regardless of where they live. We are dedicated to providing compassionate abortion care in our community and we stand in solidarity with abortion providers and advocates here in Arizona, Louisiana, and across the country. People need more access to health care, not less.”
“I am relieved to see the Supreme Court uphold the 2016 Whole Women’s Health ruling and not allow politics to dictate medical care,” said Gabrielle Goodrick, MD, Medical Director, Camelback Family Planning. “In Arizona, we must continue the fight to overturn dozens of unnecessary restrictions on abortion in our state.”
“Due to TRAP laws similar to the one in this ruling, 80% of counties in Arizona did not have a clinic that provided abortion services in 2019,” said Brianna Gordon, Tucson Abortion Support Collective. “The Tucson Abortion Support Collective and similar groups like us all over the country exist because of the serious gaps in care created by these unjust laws, laws that are written with the express intent to make it difficult if not impossible to access abortion care. This does enormous harm to already vulnerable populations. We stand in solidarity with abortion providers throughout the state in their call for officials to do more to protect abortion access in Arizona.”
Far too many people — particularly people of color and people with low incomes — already live in a world where access to abortion is nearly impossible. And, even in a public health crisis, politicians are still fighting at the Supreme Court to restrict access to birth control and to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Arizona has a similar admitting privileges law to Louisiana and Texas that was upheld in 2012. This medically unnecessary restriction remains in place in Arizona and this group of providers will continue to advocate for its repeal, and will continue to urge Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would protect against these harmful restrictions put forward by politicians in Arizona and other states across the country.
Abortion is still safe and legal in Arizona and every state in America. If you need to access care, you should reach out to your local provider for more specific information. Today’s hard-fought win is a testament to how far we still have to go.
Planned Parenthood Arizona: [email protected]; (928) 699-2081
Pro-Choice Arizona / Abortion Fund of Arizona: [email protected]
Desert Star Family Planning: [email protected]; (480) 448-6753
Camelback Family Planning; [email protected]; 602-279-2337
Tucson Abortion Support Collective; [email protected]; (520) 235-6934