Arizona Lawmakers Push Forward With Bill To Repeal Abortion Ban

Arizona Lawmakers Push Forward With Bill To Repeal Abortion Ban

( – Arizona’s Supreme Court ruled that an 1864 abortion ban superseded the 2022 15-week ban on April 9. The state legislature had enacted the 15-week ban to take effect in the event that the nation’s Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade. Lawmakers immediately went to work trying to repeal the Civil War-era statute. Their first attempts failed, but the state’s House recently passed a vote, and Democrats scored a win.

On Wednesday, April 24, three Republicans stepped across the aisle to vote with Democrats to repeal the 1864 law, which state legislatures codified in both 1901 and 1913. The result was 32 to 28 in favor of overturning the near-total ban that only allowed exceptions when the mother’s life was in danger.

Naturally, lawmakers had mixed reactions. Conservatives, including the House Speaker, Ben Toma, bemoaned the decision, while Democrats celebrated the win. The repeal measure will now head to the state’s Senate, which holds a slim GOP majority. However, according to The New York Times, at least two Republican senators stood ready to vote with Democrats, which means it could pass both chambers as early as next week.

Lawmakers drafted the 1864 law during the Civil War era and then codified it into the state’s constitution. It mandated prison time, between two to five years, for anyone who performed an abortion or helped a woman obtain one. During the 1970s, in the midst of the women’s rights movement, lawmakers were trying to repeal the law, but when the SCOTUS handed down the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling granting federal protections, it rendered those efforts moot.

However, in June 2022, when the High Court overturned the landmark abortion case, Arizona instituted a 15-week ban. Legal conflicts ensued over which law to enforce. Lower courts ruled that the newer law, which allowed for exceptions in the case of incest and assault, superseded the one crafted in 1864.

Arizona lawmakers have faced incredible pressure to overturn the 1864 ban, which would have gone into effect on June 8, barring the absence of new legislation.

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