On Friday, September 23, a judge lifted a nearly 50 year old injunction that blocked a virtually complete ban on abortions. So getting a safe and legal abortion in Arizona is now impossible, except by breaking the law. Needless to say, this is a scary time to have a uterus, or know someone who does, if you live in this state.
The reinstated law originally dates back to 1864, and brings reproductive rights backwards in time over 150 years. It bans all abortions, granting exceptions only if the pregnant person’s life is in danger. This poses some legally unclear dilemmas for providers, who now have the impossible task of deciding if providing what they think of as life-saving care to a pregnant person could put their medical license in jeopardy. Cases of cancer or incomplete miscarriages are among the risks to the pregnant person that may not be considered “dangerous enough” to warrant an abortion. Plus there are not even exceptions for cases of rape or incest, as inadequate as these exceptions may be. And for those who provide or abet the abortion? They can now face two to five years in prison for helping people access necessary medical care.
As Dr. Gabrielle Goodrick, the owner and director of a family planning center in Phoenix stated, “It’s completely out of touch with what is medically sound, what is proven to safe…. This is just going to cause pain and suffering and delays in care.”
But not all are taking these rulings sitting down. Grassroots efforts, such as aidandabetabortion.org, are refusing to let repressive state laws keep people from accessing the care they need. On the site, you can sign a pledge that you will: Support friends and strangers seeking an abortion. Drive them to a nearby clinic or help with travel out of state. Help pay for the procedure or assist in raising funds. Give others an abortion pill prescribed to you or share websites that provide this service. In other words, this effort is an attempt to start a movement to “oppose and defy any and all restrictions and bans until the right to abortion is secured.”
After all, abortion restriction anywhere is a threat to abortion access everywhere. Arizona is just one of fourteen states that essentially ban abortions. If you’re not in one of these states already, yours could be next. If we want to win full reproductive freedom it will be because we organize. It will be because we refuse to accept these laws as the new normal. It will be because we stand up and fight back.