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Phoenix City Council could vote on abortion resolution

Published: Friday, October 7, 2022 - 4:17pm
Updated: Friday, October 7, 2022 - 5:42pm

On Tuesday, Phoenix leaders will be asked to publicly condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, along with state bans on abortion. 

If approved, the proposed resolution would state the council’s opposition to national and state restrictions. It also supports full reproductive health care access for all pregnant residents and calls on Arizona lawmakers to repeal all state laws limiting or denying access to abortion.

In March, Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. And last month, a Pima County Superior Court judge allowed a near-total ban to take effect based on a Civil War-era law that mandates a prison sentence for anyone who helps a woman get an abortion.

Late Friday, the Arizona Court of Appeals issued a stay temporarily blocking the Civil War-era ban, allowing abortions to resume with limits.

The proposed Phoenix resolution would make enforcing any criminal ban on abortion the lowest priority for law enforcement.

“I do not want to see the city of Phoenix spend any of our resources to aid criminalization of those seeking abortion, abortion providers, and those who assist them,” said Councilwoman Yassamin Ansari.

When news leaked that the U.S. Supreme Court would overrule the constitutional right to abortion recognized in Roe v. Wade, Ansari, along with Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and Councilwoman Debra Start, requested City Manager Jeff Barton “review which city functions could be impacted if the Roe decision is rescinded, coupled with recent changes to state law.”

Their letter stated, in part:

“In a country with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world, with no guaranteed parental leave and no guaranteed subsidized childcare, and with a lack of access to affordable healthcare, taking away the reproductive freedom that our country has benefited from for half a century would drastically harm Phoenicians.

These systemic issues would tremendously exacerbate the consequences of this potential SCOTUS decision on the lives of low-income residents, women of color, and residents with chronic health conditions.

As city leaders we are closest to the people. We have a responsibility to work decisively to protect our residents, their health, safety, and personal freedoms.”

The Tempe City Council is expected to adopt a resolution declaring opposition to the Supreme Court ruling and Arizona laws at an upcoming meeting.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated based on an emergency stay that was issued by the Arizona Court of Appeals on Friday.

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