In the 1962 case Planned Parenthood Committee of Phoenix v. Maricopa County, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that Arizona Revised Statute 13-213, which banned the public advertising of contraceptive or abortion medication or services, was constitutional. However, the court also ruled that that Arizona Revised Statute 13-213 did not apply to Planned Parenthood's distribution of contraceptive information, allowing Planned Parenthood to continue distributing the information. Following the case, the Arizona law was challenged several times and eventually deemed unconstitutional in the 1973 case State v. New Times INC. The case Planned Parenthood Committee of Phoenix v. Maricopa County established that Planned Parenthood's distribution of medical literature was not advertising as described in the law, and it initiated a decade long discussion about the constitutionality of the laws preventing the distribution of materials related to contraception or abortion.
In the 1972 case Planned Parenthood Center of Tucson, Inc., v. Marks, the Arizona Court of Appeals required the Arizona Superior Court to rehear the case Planned Parenthood Association v. Nelson (1971) and issue a decision on the constitutionality of Arizona's abortion laws. In 1971, the Planned Parenthood Center of Tucson filed the case Planned Parenthood Association v. Nelson asking for the US District Court to rule on the constitutionality of the Arizona Revised Statutes 13-211, 13-212, and 13-213, which made it illegal for anyone to advertise, provide, or receive an abortion. The decision in Planned Parenthood Center of Tucson, Inc., v. Marks forced the Arizona Superior Court to issue a decision on the constitutionality of the Arizona abortion laws, and is one in a series of lawsuits that culminated in the legalization of abortion in Arizona in 1973.
In the 1973 case State v. New Times, INC, the Arizona Court of Appeals in Phoenix, Arizona, ruled that Arizona Revised Statutes 13-211, 13-212, and 13-213, collectively called the Arizona abortion statutes, were unconstitutional. The statues made it illegal for anyone to receive, provide, or advertise abortion services. The Arizona Court of Appeals reviewed a case in which a city court in Tempe, Arizona, convicted the New Times, a newspaper headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, of advertising abortion. In hearing the case, the Arizona Court of Appeals deferred to the recently decided US Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade (1973). In Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court ruled that women have constitutional rights to abortion services within the first trimester of pregnancy. Accordingly, the Arizona Court of Appeals claimed that all of Arizona's abortion statutes, including the one the New Times was convicted of, prohibited no criminal acts, and set aside New Times's conviction.
A licensed obstetrician and gynecologist, Pearl Tang worked to improve the health of women and children in Maricopa County, Arizona, during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Her work with the Maricopa County Health Department ranged from immunizations to preventing cervical cancer. Tang obtained federal grants and community support to establish various child and maternal health clinics throughout Maricopa County as chief of the Maricopa County Bureau of Maternal and Child Health. Tang established mobile clinics, including a clinic she called the Maternity Care Bus, to address the lack of access to medical care among rural women in Arizona. She also focused on family planning through education and the distribution of contraception. Tang's efforts in Maricopa Country increased the delivery of maternal, child, and family planning care and helped lower Arizona's infant mortality rate.
The Mother's Health Clinic opened in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1937 and provided women in central Arizona with contraception and family planning resources. A group of wealthy philanthropic Phoenix women founded the clinic under the guidance of birth control activist Margaret Sanger. The clinic was the second birth control clinic to open in Arizona and the first to serve the central and northern Arizona residents. In 1942, the clinic affiliated with the national organization Planned Parenthood Federation of America and eventually formed the Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona. The Mother's Health Clinic provided Arizona women with contraception and family planning at a time when birth control was not widely accepted or available.
The 1973 case Nelson v. Planned Parenthood Center of Tucson established the legality of abortion in Arizona. The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that the Arizona Revised Statutes 13-211, 13-212, and 13-213, collectively called the Arizona abortion statutes, were unconstitutional. The statutes had made illegal receiving, providing, or advertising abortions. After the Arizona Appeals Court heard the case, it decided that the Arizona abortion statutes were constitutional. However, two weeks later the US Supreme Court decided in Roe v. Wade (1973) that abortion was constitutional at the federal level. The Arizona court followed the precedent set by the US Supreme Court and amended its decision to rule that the Arizona abortion statutes were unconstitutional. Afterwards, Planned Parenthood, other family planning clinics, and hospitals were legally allowed in Arizona to advertise, discuss, and offer abortions as an option to their patients.
In the 2002 case Simat Corp v. Arizona Health Care Containment System, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the Arizona Health Care Containment System must pay for abortions when they are necessary to preserve the health of pregnant women in the system. In the case, the Court ruled that the Arizona Revised Statutes 35-196.02 and the Arizona Health Care Containment System (AHCCCS) policies, which banned public funds from being used for abortions, were unconstitutional. AHCCCS is Arizona's Medicaid insurance system, which enables low-income residents to receive medical care. The decision in Simat Corp v. Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System required AHCCCS to pay for abortions in cases for which pregnancies put women's health at risk, allowing low-income women greater access to therapeutic abortions.
The case Tucson Woman's Clinic v. Eden (2004) established that some of Arizona's abortion clinic laws violated physicians' and patients' rights to privacy, and it required those laws to be rewritten. The laws required most abortion providers to be licensed with the Arizona Department of Health Services and to submit to all the regulations the Department established for abortion clinics. The regulations allowed the state to search abortion clinics without warrants and to access patient records and ultrasound prints, among other provisions. Following the US Court of Appeals decision in Tucson Woman's Clinic v. Eden, the settlement agreement rewrote the regulations to create rules that lessened the burden on women's access to abortions, while still allowing the Department to oversee abortion clinics.
In the 2013 case Isaacson v. Horne, the US Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit ruled that Arizona House Bill (HB) 2036, which prohibited abortions after twenty weeks of gestation, was unconstitutional. The Arizona State Legislature passed the law in 2012, which was then challenged by three physicians who filed a lawsuit against the state, arguing that the law violated women's constitutionally protected rights to abortions, rights that may only be infringed once fetuses are viable outside of the womb. In hearing the case, the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals relied on the precedent set by the US Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade (1973) that ruled that states could not constitutionality prohibit abortions prior to fetal viability at twenty-four weeks. The case Isaacson v. Horne strengthened the precedent in Arizona that laws prohibiting abortion prior to fetal viability are unconstitutional, and it upheld women's rights to decide to terminate their pregnancies prior to fetal viability.
Emmett McLoughlin wrote People's Padre: An Autobiography, based on his experiences as a Roman Catholic priest advocating for the health of people in Arizona. The Beacon Press in Boston, Massachusetts, published the autobiography in 1954. McLoughlin was a Franciscan Order Roman Catholic priest who advocated for public housing and healthcare for the poor and for minority groups in Phoenix, Arizona, during the mid twentieth century. The autobiography recounts McLoughlin's efforts in founding several community initiatives throughout Phoenix, including the St. Monica's Community Center, later renamed St. Pius X Catholic Church, the Phoenix housing projects, and St. Monica's Hospital, later renamed Phoenix Memorial Hospital. McLoughlin's autobiography discusses his advocacy for people to have greater access to maternity and prenatal healthcare, to testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and to birth control in the Phoenix area.