Arizona Senate votes to repeal 1864 abortion ban

Arizona Senate meeting to repeal 1864 abortion law
Arizona Senate met to repeal 1864 abortion law

Arizona’s Senate has voted to repeal a 1864 law banning abortion, the last major push in the Democrat-led effort to erase the law from state books.

Two Republicans joined Senate Democrats to support the repeal bill, which narrowly passed the House last week.

Governor Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, hailed the result and is due to formalise the removal of the law.

The pre-statehood law bars abortion from the moment of conception, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

It was revived last month after Arizona’s top court ruled the ban could be enforced following the US Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v Wade in June 2022, a landmark ruling which rescinded the nationwide right to abortion.

The decision unleashed an uproar across the country, where voters broadly support abortion access and galvanised efforts to put an abortion question on the ballot in November, which would expand rights in the state.

And for Republicans staring down autumn elections, the ban posed a major political dilemma, with legislators caught between the party’s conservative base and more moderate swing voters who decried the pre-Civil War bill as draconian.

Some leading Republicans including former President Donald Trump and former Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, distanced themselves from the law, suggesting it was out of step with the state’s voters.

The repeal bill was passed 16-14 on Wednesday after two Republicans, Shawnna Bolick and TJ Shope broke ranks with their party, voting yes on the one-line repeal bill.

Both were criticised by their colleagues, who described their votes as a betrayal of “pro-life” values.

“The epitome of delusion is saying I am pro-life yet voting to repeal an abortion ban,” said Senator Anthony Kern, who called the 1864 law “the best abortion ban in the nation”.

Voting to repeal is “voting for death”, he said. Mr Kern was one of the fake electors indicted last week for his role in an alleged scheme to overturn the 2020 election in favour of Donald Trump.

Explaining her vote, Ms Bolick recounted her experience receiving an abortion during an unviable pregnancy – an option, she said, that may have been unavailable under the 1864 law, which includes exceptions for the life of the mother.

The abortion “was very tough”, she said. “Would Arizona’s pre-Roe law have allowed me to have this medical procedure, even though at the time my life wasn’t in danger?”

National anti-abortion activists, too, condemned the two politicians, criticising what they described as political cynicism.

“This blueprint of irresponsibility and cowardice will be emulated across the nation by other opportunistic Republicans who gladly wear the pro-life cape for donor dollars but stab the movement in the back when it’s time to act,” said Chanel Prunier, vice-president of political affairs for anti-abortion group Students for Life Action.

If the repeal is signed by Governor Hobbs, abortions in Arizona will be governed by 2022 law, which prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy with exceptions only in cases of medical emergency. There are no exceptions for rape or incest.

However, that could change in November when Arizonans are expected to vote on a ballot question that would protect abortion access until 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Similar ballot initiatives in Republican-controlled states since Roe was overturned have all delivered wins for the pro-choice movement.


About World Justice News 4296 Articles
Brings you breaking crime news and other interesting crime stories from around the world.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply