HomeForeignArizona Senate Kills 1864 Abortion Ban

Arizona Senate Kills 1864 Abortion Ban

The Arizona Senate voted on Wednesday to repeal the state’s 1864 ban on abortion, erstwhile expected to take effect within weeks.

The repeal was passed by the Senate in a 16-14 vote and is expected to be quickly signed by Governor Katie Hobbs, a Democrat.

Two Republican senators crossed party lines to vote in favor of repealing the ban.

The Arizona House last week passed the measure after a handful of Republicans broke party ranks and voted with Democrats to send it to the Senate.

“We’re here to repeal a bad law,” Senator Eva Burch, a Democrat, said from the floor. “I don’t want us honoring laws about women, written during a time when women were forbidden from voting.”

Republican Senator Wendy Rogers said in casting her vote to maintain the 1864 ban that repealing the law went against the conservative values of Arizona.

“Life starts at conception. They got it right in 1864. We need to continue to get it right in 2024,” Rogers said.

The fight over the Civil War-era abortion ban in Arizona, a state sharply split between Democrats and Republicans, is the latest flashpoint on women’s reproductive rights in the U.S. In 2022 the U.S. Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to abortion, leaving it up to states to decide the issue. Conservative-led states quickly invoked strict bans on abortion within their borders.

 

Item 1 of 5 A woman holds a sign at a protest in the district of Republican state Representative Matt Gress after Arizona’s Supreme Court revived a law dating to 1864 that bans abortion in virtually all instances, in Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S. April 14, 2024. REUTERS/Caitlin O’Hara/File Photo

[1/5]A woman holds a sign at a protest in the district of Republican state Representative Matt Gress after Arizona’s Supreme Court revived a law dating to 1864 that bans abortion in virtually all instances, in Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S. April 14, 2024. REUTERS/Caitlin O’Hara/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights, opens new tab

Democrats across the U.S., confident that public opinion is on their side in supporting abortion rights, have sought to elevate the issue ahead of November’s presidential election. Arizona is a key battleground state.

Heather Williams, president of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee that works to elect Democrats to state legislatures, said her party would capitalize on the “extreme nature of MAGA Arizona Republicans” who voted to maintain the 1864 law as Democrats try to flip the state’s House and Senate in November’s elections.

Rogers, the Republican state senator, acknowledged the political risks.

“Some colleagues would say it’s politically pragmatic for us to find middle ground,” she said. “We might lose the legislature, we might lose the presidential election. But it’s more important to do what’s right.”

The 1864 law was revived by a state Supreme Court ruling on April 9, and unless the legislature intervened, it could have taken effect within 60 days of that ruling, state Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, has said.

Restrictions on abortion are still in place in Arizona. In 2022, the state legislature passed a law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Arizona Democrats have said they will continue attempting to place a ballot measure before voters in November that would restore abortion rights.

REUTERS

 

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