Attorney General Mayes Sends Letter to Hospitals and Medical Providers Clarifying Abortion Law Status

PHOENIX In a letter sent yesterday to hospitals and medical providers across Arizona, Attorney General Kris Mayes clarified that the earliest date the 1864 near-total abortion ban could take effect is June 8, 2024. Healthcare providers may continue to provide care consistent with the 15-week abortion law passed in 2022 until at least that date. 

“Absent any additional litigation or action by the Legislature, the status-quo remains in place concerning abortion law in our state until June 8, 2024,” said Attorney General Mayes. “My office continues to explore all legal options available to prevent the 1864 near-total abortion ban from taking effect. But health care providers can be assured that because of a separate court order in Isaacson v. State, the territorial-era ban will not take effect until 45 days after the Arizona Supreme Court issues the final mandate in Planned Parenthood vs. Mayes/Hazelrigg.”

The mandate is currently scheduled to issue on April 24, 2024.  Forty-five days from that date is June 8, 2024.

Yesterday, prior to issuing the letter, Attorney General Mayes met with more than 40 representatives, including Chief Medical Officers, from hospitals and clinics around the state to better understand the current and impending issues they face. She held an additional meeting last Friday, attended by more than 25 abortion care providers, emergency room physicians, IVF specialists, OB/GYNs and others who work in the reproductive health field. The meetings were instrumental in gaining direct insight into the chaos created by the 1864 near-total abortion ban Arizona Supreme Court decision, in addition to the fall of Roe in the Dobbs decision nearly two years ago.

Because legislative Republicans continue to block efforts at repealing the 1864 law, medical providers find themselves in incredibly challenging situations as they seek to provide life-saving care for women in Arizona while also adhering to the law.

“The heart-wrenching decisions doctors and nurses will have to make if this 1864 law takes effect are unconscionable,” continued Attorney General Mayes. “Instead of listening to medical professionals alive today, Republicans in the Legislature would have Arizonans’ medical care dictated by men who lived 160 years ago at a time when women had few rights and Arizona wasn’t even a state. My office will continue to do everything we can to support our medical professionals as they work to provide care for their patients, which is already complicated under the current 15-week abortion ban. The bottom line is that these decisions should be private and made between a patient and their doctor.”