Lawmakers Fight To Repeal 1864 Abortion Ban

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( – The Arizona Legislature has passed a bill to repeal a longstanding but dormant ban on nearly all abortions, sending it to Governor Katie Hobbs, who supports the repeal. The Civil War-era law, recently reinstated by the state’s Supreme Court, made abortions almost universally illegal, with severe penalties for those involved in performing them. This law predates Arizona’s statehood and allowed exceptions only to save the life of the patient, without allowances for rape or incest victims.

The repeal effort saw bipartisan support in the Senate, with a 16-14 vote that included two Republicans siding with Democrats. Governor Hobbs has been vocal about her intent to sign the repeal, emphasizing the protection of women’s rights and medical autonomy in Arizona. Her action aligns with efforts to safeguard reproductive healthcare, marking the beginning of a broader initiative.

However, until the repeal becomes effective—90 days post-legislative session—Arizona’s strict 15-week abortion ban remains. This creates a temporary period where almost all abortions are banned. State Attorney General Kris Mayes expressed commitment to preventing the near-total ban from being enforced during this interim.

The debate over the bill was intense and lengthy, reflecting deep divisions on the issue. Advocates from both sides, including Planned Parenthood and religious groups, gathered at the Senate, highlighting the community’s high stakes in the outcome. Meanwhile, Republican dissenters criticized their colleagues for breaking party lines, underscoring the contentious nature of the debate within the GOP.

This legislative action occurs amid broader national shifts on abortion rights, following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which has led to varying state-level responses across the country. Arizona’s decision is particularly significant given its status as a key battleground state in upcoming elections, with implications for both local and national political landscapes.

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