PHOENIX — Editor's note: The above video aired during a previous broadcast.
The consequences for women in Arizona now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned will undoubtedly limit their healthcare options in the state.
One analysis by the data journalism site Stacker concludes Arizona will be impacted more than any other state because of its political climate, its affected population and the average distance to an abortion clinic out-of-state, which would be 247 miles.
The first point state lawmakers, and possibly state courts, will have to decide is which of Arizona's two abortion-focused laws will set the precedent.
Century-old Arizona law resurrected
Arizona’s original abortion ban dates back to 1901 when Arizona was still a territory. It was later codified into law when Arizona gained statehood. The century-old law would be resurrected if the Supreme Court completely overturns Roe v. Wade.
The law would make it a crime for anyone to help a pregnant woman procure a miscarriage unless it’s necessary to preserve the woman’s life. The penalty for the abortion provider under this law is 2 to 5 years in prison.
Prosecutors will face a decision
There is something else to consider. County attorneys will now have the discretion of whether to pursue prosecutions.
In Maricopa County, the sitting lead prosecutor Republican Rachel Mitchell said she would make exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
“While I will enforce the law because it is not my role to just say I will blanket not enforce the law, I think those situations perhaps are where prosecutorial discretion can be exercised,” Mitchell told 12 News during a previous Sunday Square Off episode.
Gunnigle will not prosecute abortion cases
The leading Democrat candidate for county attorney Julie Gunnigle said that, if elected, she would never prosecute an abortion case.
“And I think we need to make a strong statement not just that Arizonans won’t support this but that it would be a waste of resources to prosecute people for their healthcare decisions,” Gunnigle said on Sunday Square Off.
Even if a prosecutor in power publicly vows to stand down and not enforce the law, it’s not clear if women’s health clinics would take the chance of breaking the law anyway.
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