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Home / News / Health / LA County health department decries Arizona abortion ruling

LA County health department decries Arizona abortion ruling

by Joe Taglieri
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In response to the Arizona Supreme Court’s decision that could severely restrict abortion in the state, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health blasted the court ruling and promised continued access to reproductive care.

“Abortion in LA County: Still Legal, Still Safe, Still Available,” according to the county’s statement Tuesday following the court ruling.

“Access to abortion is essential to the health and well-being of individuals and communities and continues to be a priority for Los Angeles County,” health officials said.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled to uphold an 1864 law that makes it a felony for anyone to perform or help a woman obtain an abortion with a penalty of two to five years in prison.

According to the ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 overturning of Roe v. Wade abortion protections opened the door for Arizona’s renewed enforcement of the 160-year-old abortion ban that was enacted prior to statehood.

“Physicians are now on notice that all abortions, except those necessary to save a woman’s life, are illegal … and that additional criminal and regulatory sanctions may apply to abortions performed after fifteen weeks’ gestation,” Justice John R. Lopez IV wrote in the majority opinion.

The court voted 4-2 in favor of upholding the abortion ban, with Lopez and Justices Clint Bolick, James P. Beene and Kathryn H. King in the majority. Vice Chief Justice Ann A. Scott Timmer and Chief Justice Robert M. Brutinel dissented. Justice William G. Montgomery recused himself from the case.

“Life is a human right, and today’s decision allows the state to respect that right and fully protect life again — just as the Legislature intended,” Alliance Defending Freedom senior attorney Jake Warner, who argued the case for the abortion ban. before the court, told the Arizona Republic.

“This decision is unconscionable and directly threatens women’s health and freedom,” LA County’s statement said. “The harms of restricting abortion access will always hurt the most vulnerable among us, disproportionately impacting those who face discrimination and are marginalized including people with low incomes; people of color; young people; people with disabilities; immigrants; people in rural communities; lesbian, bisexual, queer women, and transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex people.”

President Joe Biden was also critical of the court’s decision.

“Millions of Arizonans will soon live under an even more extreme and dangerous abortion ban, which fails to protect women even when their health is at risk or in tragic cases of rape or incest,” Biden said in a statement. “This cruel ban was first enacted in 1864 — more than 150 years ago, before Arizona was even a state and well before women had secured the right to vote. This ruling is a result of the extreme agenda of Republican elected officials who are committed to ripping away women’s freedom.”

LA County and the state of California created the Abortion Safe Haven Project to provide reproductive care for all residents as well as those who travel to the county, officials said. The project is a network of county agencies, community service organizations, businesses, reproductive health advocates and health care providers that work to ensure safe access to abortion and reproductive health care.

Los Angeles County’s Abortion Safe Haven Guide is online at http://abortionsafehaven.lacounty.gov/.

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