The Arizona Supreme Court’s abortion ban ruling is racist, irrelevant and cruel

April 9, 2024, will remain a dark day in Arizona history. On this day, the Arizona Supreme Court rolled back the clocks to 1864 — the Civil War era — to uphold a near-total ban of abortions that would criminalize physicians for providing care. 

As organizations on a mission to eliminate racism and empower women, YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix and YWCA Southern Arizona strongly condemn the Supreme Court for subjectively applying this law that is a clear exertion of power and control over women’s bodies and the bodies of pregnant people — and that disproportionately affects women and pregnant people of color.



With criminal penalties on the line, it is understandable that doctors will deny care. This ruling includes NO exceptions for rape, incest or health; abortion care may only be used to save the life of the pregnant person. 

Any doctor or hospital will tell you that drawing that line is nearly impossible and will inevitably lead to unnecessary deaths. Read: Abortion bans are not pro-life, in fact they increase maternal mortality rates.

Already facing maternal mortality rates at 2-4 times the rate of birthing white people, Black women and pregnant people will be disproportionately affected by this ruling. As stated by YWCA USA, “Black women are more likely to face policy and structural barriers that inhibit their ability both to access abortion care and to have healthy pregnancies — policies like paid sick days, pay equity, affordable health insurance… that compound the impact of these intersecting issues in their lives.” 

The justices will see just how out of step they are with the people they are meant to serve at the polls this November when we stand forward to enshrine our right to abortion in the state constitution.

Even before the April 9 ruling, abortion for many people in Arizona was a choice only in theory. The state’s geography and laws meant people living in vast areas of Arizona have received no access to care, ever.

Abortion access cannot be reduced to pro-choice vs. pro-life. This is an economic justice issue, a racial justice issue and a gender justice issue. According to an article in the American Journal of Public Health, “Low-income and birthing people of color have increased rates of abortion compared to White and high-income birthing people.” 

Abortion bans do not minimize people’s need to access care, but they do increase poor health outcomes and unnecessary economic strain for people who must travel to access care — if they can.

The misguided decision from the Arizona Supreme Court to reinstate a ban from 1864 is even more incomprehensible when put into context: In 1864, Arizona was not yet a state, and it wouldn’t be for another 48 years. At that time, women did not have the right to vote, nor did they have the right to divorce. And the country was about halfway through the Civil War, in which the Southern secessionists were determined to preserve the institution of slavery. 

This law is not just old. It’s irrelevant, it’s cruel, it’s racist, and Arizonans overwhelmingly do not agree with it. The justices will see just how out of step they are with the people they are meant to serve at the polls this November when we stand forward to enshrine our right to abortion in the state constitution. 

It’s now up to the people to take control over the right to govern our bodies back from the hands of careless politicians and misguided judges. 

Both YWCA Southern Arizona and YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix continue to advocate for abortion rights and will channel the agencies’ energy and resources toward getting people to the ballot box in November to vote on the Arizona Right to Abortion Initiative. To join us in doing so, get in touch with YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix and YWCA Southern Arizona by following us online (@ywcaaz and @ywcasouthernaz) or visiting our websites ( and

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