Arizona Abortion Laws


Arizona is recognized as a national leader in protecting life. That’s why in 2012, Arizona was named Americans United for Life’s “Pro-life All-Star.”

Since 1995, Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) has supported 30 bills that have been signed into law that promote and defend life. For most of the regulations listed below, CAP has played a leading role in seeing them enacted into law. Protecting the lives of preborn children and vulnerable women is a top priority for CAP and our supporters across the state.

Over 40 Arizona statutes address abortion in some way, although not all are directly regulating abortion. Some of these laws are unenforceable or have been modified by court decisions. Here is a summary of the current laws on the books in Arizona that regulate abortion.

Enforceable Arizona Abortion Laws

Ensuring Adequate Consent

  • Parental Consent (A.R.S. § 36-2152) Requires parental consent for minors seeking abortions but allows for judicial bypass. Requires the parental consent to be obtained on a form to ensure that parents are informed of all of the medical risks of abortion before giving consent. Requires parental consent to be notarized. Allows parents to sue (1) an abortion provider who performs an abortion on their minor daughter without parental consent or (2) any person who assists a minor in obtaining an abortion without parental consent.
  • Informed Consent (A.R.S. § 36-2153) Information must be provided 24 hours in advance to a woman seeking an abortion about the risks and alternatives of the procedure, the probable gestational age and physiological characteristics of the preborn child, and the services available from public and private agencies to assist during pregnancy and after birth. Requires that the information is provided at an in-person consultation with a doctor. Allows a woman to file a lawsuit against an abortion provider who fails to obtain informed consent. Requires the Department of Health Services to create and maintain a website providing unbiased information about fetal development, the risks of abortion, and information about alternatives to abortion.
  • Informed Consent for Lethal Condition (A.R.S. § 36-2158) – When a woman discovers that her child may have a life-threatening birth defect or other fetal condition, information must be provided 24 hours in advance about the support that is available to her, including perinatal hospice. Requires the Department of Health Services to create and maintain a website providing unbiased information about perinatal hospice and assistance available for children with special needs.
  • Opportunity to View Ultrasound (A.R.S. § 36-2156) Requires an ultrasound to be performed at least 24 hours before every abortion, and a woman seeking abortion must be offered the opportunity to view the ultrasound and hear the baby’s heartbeat, if audible.
  • Coercion Prohibited (A.R.S. § 36-2153) Prohibits a person from intimidating or coercing another person into having an abortion and allows minors to obtain public assistance benefits if parents cut off financial support because the minor refuses to have an abortion. Requires that all abortion clinics conspicuously post signs that state it is unlawful for any person to intimidate or coerce another person into having an abortion.
  • Foster Parents (A.R.S. § 8-514.05) Foster parents may not consent to abortion for a foster child.
  • Fiduciaries (Arizona Code of Jud. Admin. § 7-202) Fiduciaries may not consent to abortion for a ward without a court order.

Prohibiting the Most Inhumane Practices

  • Partial-Birth Abortion Ban (A.R.S. § 13-3603.01) – Outlaws the gruesome partial-birth abortion procedure; mirrors the federal law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Potentially Viable Fetus (A.R.S. § 36-2301.01) An abortion may not be performed on a viable fetus. There is an exception for an abortion that is necessary to save the life and health of the mother.
  • Duty to Promote Life of Fetus Delivered Alive (A.R.S. § 36-2301) If an abortion is performed and the fetus is alive, the physician performing the abortion is required to see that all available means and medical skills are used to promote, preserve, and maintain the life of the fetus.
  • Prohibiting Race-Selection and Sex-Selection Abortions (A.R.S. §§ 13-3603.02, 36-2157) – Prohibits abortions based on the race or sex of the preborn child.
  • Prohibiting Abortions Past 20 Weeks of Pregnancy (A.R.S. § 36-2159) – Prohibits abortions past 20 weeks gestation, except in the case of a medical emergency.†

Enforcing Basic Safety Standards

  • Abortion Clinic Regulations (A.R.S. §§ 36-449.01 through 36-449.03) Requires abortion clinics to be licensed medical facilities that meet basic health and safety standards; includes clinics that administer only medication abortions; limits performance of surgical abortions to licensed physicians; establishes standards for follow-up visits, minimum abortion clinic incident reporting, and confidentiality of patients. Requires doctors that perform surgical abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic; medication abortions must be administered according to the federal Food and Drug Administration safety protocol; requires a follow-up visit within one to three weeks after administering a medication abortion, consistent with FDA protocol; requires abortion clinics to report to the Department of Health Services any injury or condition that requires ambulance transportation of a patient; permits DHS to assess civil penalties, impose sanctions, and suspend, revoke, or deny licenses for violations of these rules.l
  • Telemedicine for Abortion Prohibited (A.R.S. § 36-3604) Abortion providers may not use webcam technology as a substitute for an in-person meeting with a doctor.
  • Prohibition of All Non-Physicians from Performing Surgical Abortions (A.R.S. §§ 36-2153(D), 36-2155) Bans all non-doctors from performing surgical abortions.
  • Physician Assistants Not Allowed to Perform Abortions (A.R.S. §§ 32-2501, 32-2531, 32-2532) Prohibits physician assistants from performing surgical abortions; also prohibits physician assistants from prescribing abortion medication.
  • Nurse Practitioners Not Allowed to Perform Abortions (A.R.S. § 32-1606) Clarifies that the Board of Nursing does not have authority to allow nurse practitioners to perform abortions.

 Protecting Rights of Conscience

  • Right to Refuse to Participate in Abortion (A.R.S. § 36-2154) No hospital or healthcare worker may be required to perform abortions. Protects all healthcare workers to uphold their religious beliefs about abortion, abortion medication, and emergency contraception without compromising their jobs.

 Collecting Accurate Data

  • Abortion Reporting (A.R.S. §§ 36-2161, 36-2163) Requires abortion clinics to report to the Department of Health Services monthly on how many abortions they performed, the reason for the procedure, the type of procedure as well as demographical information of their patients, excluding any personal identifiers. Allows DHS to take disciplinary action against an abortion clinic’s license for failure to report.
  • Abortion Complications Reporting (A.R.S. § 36-2162) – Requires all healthcare providers to report to the Department of Health Services about any women treated for abortion complications, the nature of the complication, and expected permanent effects of the complication, excluding any personal identifiers.

Eliminating Public Subsidies & Benefits      

  • Prohibition on Use of Public Funds (A.R.S. § 35-196.02) – Public funds may not be used to pay for an abortion except to save the life of the mother. Federal funds may be used when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. An Arizona Supreme Court decision, Simat v. AHCCCS, requires an exception for indigent women seeking a “medically necessary” abortion. Public funds may not be used for abortion training.
  • Abortion at State Universities Prohibited (A.R.S. § 15-1630) Abortions at hospitals under the jurisdiction of the board of regents are prohibited.
  • Public Facilities (A.R.S. § 48-2212) – County health service district facilities may not provide abortions or contract with an outside provider to perform abortions.
  • Charitable Tax Credits (A.R.S. § 43-1088) – Abortion providers are disqualified from the working poor tax credit.
  • Health Insurance Exchanges (A.R.S. § 20-121) – Plans that provide abortion coverage will not be included in any health insurance exchange created under President Obama’s national healthcare bill. Includes an exception for the mother’s life or health or for abortion coverage that is paid for as a separate rider.
  • Prohibition on Backdoor Funding of Abortion Providers (A.R.S. § 35-196.05) – Prohibits federal tax dollars that pass through the state from going to abortion providers.†

Policy Promoting Life

  • Preference for Childbirth and Adoption in Schools (A.R.S. § 15-115) – No public school may endorse or provide support to any program or presentation that does not present childbirth and adoption as preferred options to abortion.
  • Prohibiting Wrongful Life/Birth Lawsuits (A.R.S. § 12-719) – Prohibits parents from suing doctors and claiming that they would have aborted their child if they knew the child would have a disability.
  • Prohibition to Contract on Abortion (A.R.S. § 36-2153) – Prohibits a person from requiring a woman to obtain an abortion as a provision in a contract or as a condition of employment.

Unenforceable Laws Due to Judicial Action

  • Penalties to Provider (A.R.S. § 13-3603) Prohibits all abortions. (Roe v. Wade)
  • Soliciting Abortion; Punishment; Exception (A.R.S. § 13-3604) A woman may not seek an abortion. (Roe v. Wade)
  • Advertising to Produce Abortion or Prevent Conception; Punishment (A.R.S. §13-3605) Prohibits advertising for abortion services. (Roe v. Wade)
  • Review of Ultrasound Results (A.R.S. § 36-2301.02) Requires the Department of Health Services to contract with a private company to review ultrasounds for abortions performed after 12 weeks to confirm gestational age. (Tucson Women’s Clinic v. Eden)
  • Experimentation on Human Fetus or Embryo Prohibited; Physician-Patient Privilege Inapplicable (A.R.S. § 36-2302) Prohibits use of aborted embryos and fetuses for purposes of experimentation. (Forbes v. Napolitano)

l = These provisions are pending a rulemaking by the Department of Health Services.
† = Lawsuit pending, and this law is not in force.

Talking Points

  • Arizona abortion laws recognize the importance of protecting the life of preborn children and vulnerable women. Laws like the Abortion Consent Act and Abortion Clinic Regulations help safeguard women against the dangerous practices of the abortion industry.
  • Americans agree that abortions should not be paid for with tax dollars. Arizona law prohibits taxpayer-funded abortion with very limited exceptions.
  • State legislatures have the authority to regulate the abortion industry. Arizona’s legislature has established public policy that establishes a preference to protect the sanctity of human life.


Arizona has a strong pro-life record, and continues to be a leader in the nation. While there is still much work to be done to see the sanctity of human life protected from its very beginning, Center for Arizona Policy remains committed to seeing this battle through to the end.


© January 2014 Center for Arizona Policy, Inc. All rights reserved.
This publication includes summaries of many complex areas of law and is not specific legal advice to any person. Consult an attorney if you have questions about your specific situation or believe your legal rights have been infringed. This publication is educational in nature and should not be construed as an effort to aid or hinder any legislation.