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The abortion landscape in Arizona has changed dramatically. Hear voices from both sides

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Wednesday, January 4, 2023 - 12:44pm
Updated: Wednesday, January 4, 2023 - 3:03pm

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The legal and political landscape surrounding abortion in Arizona — and across the country — has shifted dramatically in the last year.

Many wouldn't have believed a year ago that Roe v. Wade would no longer be the law of the land and that the political debate here would be over which abortion ban should be in effect — a 15-week ban or a near-total ban that was authored before Arizona was a state.

But that’s where we are today. since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer and states have retaken control of the laws that govern the procedure.

Arizonans some clarity on this issue just before the new year when a state appeals court ruled that doctors could not be prosecuted under the pre-statehood ban in Arizona. Now, doctors here are able to perform abortions through the first 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Cathi Herrod (left) and Caroline Mello Roberson
Cathi Herrod,Caroline Mello Roberson
Cathi Herrod (left) and Caroline Mello Roberson

But Cathi Herrod predicts the case is not over and the issue will end up before the Arizona Supreme Court. Herrod has long been one of the leading voices against abortion rights in Arizona. She’s the president of the Center for Arizona Policy, and her group was not party to the lawsuit over the pre-statehood ban.

The Show spoke with Herrod before the appeals court’s decision came down. She talked about just how much the conversation — and the politics — have shifted in this debate in recent months. After decades of fighting against abortion, she explained what it felt like for her to finally see Roe overturned.

The Show also turned to someone with a very different take on the political implications of abortion in Arizona and how it played out in the election.

Caroline Mello Roberson is the Southwest regional director of NARAL, which lobbies for abortion rights across the country. She talked about work in Arizona leading up to November’s election and how different the political landscape around abortion is today.

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