AZ Abortion Ruling

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The court decision out of Arizona reminds us there are lots of unknowns still to reveal themselves over the course of this election. This is a pretty big one. The state court ruled that Dobbs means the near complete ban on abortion under an 1864 law must be enforced in the state. If I’m understanding the ruling, it is for the moment stayed. So it doesn’t go into effect today. But it likely will pretty soon. Arizona abortion rights advocates say they already have sufficient signatures to get an abortion ballot initiative on the ballot for November. That’s not confirmed yet. But these groups have a lot of experience knowing the number of excess signatures required to be certain you’re going to get on the ballot. So it’s a safe assumption that that ballot initiative will be on the ballot. It’s just not certain.

So what we seem to be looking at is a situation in which abortion will become illegal and the only recourse is to win that ballot initiative in November. That’s disastrous near-term for Arizona women and potentially very good news for every Democrat on the ballot in the state.

There’s another element to this. The state’s Democratic AG says she won’t enforce this law. In many states local DAs can enforce laws like this. I don’t know who has what power in Arizona. (We’ll have a fuller piece soon.) Even if the AG holds sway providers often find the legal liability too great to operate under that kind of legal uncertainty. So enforcement remains a big question mark.

(Note: I’ve tried to put together the available info here quickly and make clear which points I’m uncertain on. Please see the above as subject to revision, and we should have a fuller report up shortly.)

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