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How Women at One Arizona Clinic Are Grappling With the Abortion Ruling

Leah found out she was five weeks pregnant on the same day that the Arizona Supreme Court upheld an 1864 law banning nearly all abortions in the state.

The law is not expected to take effect until June, but Leah, 29, worried that the state’s abortion clinics might be overwhelmed by an influx of patients or shut down abruptly. And she could not afford to take time off from her job installing bathroom showers to travel to another state for the procedure.

So on Saturday morning, she threaded past a handful of protesters waving signs that read “You Shall Not Murder” and checked in at the Acacia Women’s Center in Phoenix.

“I might have taken a couple more weeks” to consider her options, she said. “But I kind of felt like my hands were tied.”

The court’s ruling this week reinstated a Civil War-era law that outlaws abortion from the moment of conception, which could have far-reaching consequences for women and has the potential to reshape the 2024 election. Inside the lobby of Acacia, the ruling felt deeply personal to Leah and other women, a decision that made them reluctant players in a series of national battles over contraception, in vitro fertilization and women’s health.

The ruling set off outrage and political maneuvering. The state’s Democratic lawmakers scrambled, but failed, to repeal the law and lawyers on both sides are preparing for more battles over whether to implement it.

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