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Tucson will not make arrests at abortion clinics

If more stringent abortion laws take effect
Posted at 6:44 PM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 21:44:04-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The City of Tucson says if the Supreme Court strikes down Roe vs Wade, and the state imposes more stringent abortion laws, Tucson will not be involved in aggressive enforcement.

Tucson has committed to not raid abortion clinics.

The City of Tucson is planning ahead in case abortion does become more restrictive. That includes instructing police not to arrest abortion providers.

If the Supreme Court strikes down Roe vs. Wade, Arizona has a law that would take effect forbidding abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.

But Tucson’s City Council just passed a resolution saying don’t expect Tucson Police to raid clinics and bring abortion providers out in cuffs. Mayor Regina Romero says the resolution makes the point that Tucson’s Mayor and Council believe people have the right to control what happens to their bodies.

“And that the Supreme Court for the last 50 years has said that it is within our constitutional right to be able to decide what we need to as people with our own bodies and reproductive functions.”

The City’s resolution instructs Tucson Police Chief to amend TPD’s general orders to order that:

  • No officer will physically arrest someone at a medical clinic for a suspected violation of abortion law.
  • If there are charges, they will be handled on paper.
  • If there are public complaints about a clinic, the city may refer a clinic to the Arizona Health Department for investigation.

State legislators are already saying they might keep Tucson from receiving state money if Tucson does not enforce the abortion law they passed.

Mayor Romero says she’s not surprised to hear those threats—and that the city feels it’s on solid legal ground.

“And as a mayor, I believe it is imperative for me to be able to defend the rights of Tucsonans especially when we feel that there are laws instituted by the state and signed by the governor that infringe on the rights of people here in our city.”

KGUN9 asked for comment from Governor Ducey, and State Senator Nancy Barto, the main sponsor of Arizona’s latest abortion law. We received the following response:

“This resolution is meaningless. The City of Tucson does not have the legal authority to block a state law regarding abortion, which is of statewide concern and subject to the sole jurisdiction of the State Legislature. Cities cannot decide the legality of any state law for that matter. That's outside the scope of their authority. The City of Tucson will be in the position of losing state shared revenues if they persist in this action.

The resolution states 'abortion bans disproportionately target minority and lower-income patients.' We hear the word discrimination a lot these days. But it’s almost never used to describe the most evil act of discrimination taking place today: abortion. In America, minority children and children with disabilities are the most likely to not even get a chance at life! Black children are three to five times more likely to be aborted. And almost 70% of children with Down Syndrome are never born.

In Arizona, there will be no blatant disregard for the law or overreach in regulating health professionals who must follow our state's laws.”
Statement from State Senator Nancy Barto

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Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 30 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing craig.smith@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.