Arizona’s Democratic leaders make final push to repeal 19th century abortion ban

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ADemocratic Attorney General Kris Mayes, who opposes enforcement of the 19th century law, has said that the earliest the state can enforce the law is June 27, though she has asked the state’s highest court to block enforcement for a three-month period ending sometime in late July.April 24, 2024, in Phoenix.ROSS D. FRANKLIN / AP

The Republican-controlled Arizona House on Wednesday approved a repeal of an 1864 abortion law that would have banned nearly all abortions, sending the measure to the state Senate.

The anti-abortion group defending the ban, Alliance Defending Freedom, maintains that county prosecutors can begin enforcing it once the state Supreme Court’s decision becomes final, which hasn’t yet occurred.rizona state House Speaker Ben Tom, R-Peoria, watches the vote tally on the proposed repeal of Arizona’s near-total ban on abortions,

The state Senate is set to consider the law on May 1. The 1864 law is set to go into effect on June 8, and it would supersede what had been the current 15-week abortion ban.

In the contentious session on Wednesday, three Republicans joined all the Democrats in a 32-28 vote to overrule GOP House Speaker Ben Toma, who twice previously blocked the bill from moving forward. Republicans control the chamber by a 31-29 margin.

“I was told that we could get a clean repeal tomorrow, but you know, who knows, right?” Stahl Hamilton said. “Who knows who loses their nerve, you know, the night before the day? Or minutes before, you know? All I know is we got to keep trying. And people in Arizona need us to continue to do everything we can to repeal this ban.”

When Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022 though, then-Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, persuaded a state judge that the 1864 ban could again be enforced. Still, the law hasn’t actually been enforced while the case was making its way through the courts. Mayes, who succeeded Brnovich, urged the state’s high court against reviving the law.

On Wednesday, Stahl Hamilton said she was “grateful” to Rep. Matt Gress, one of the Republicans who joined the Democrats, for allowing it to come to a vote on Wednesday.

The law is “one step closer to being repealed,” Stahl Hamilton said. The measure now goes to the state Senate.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, said in a post on X that she was “thrilled the House has finally decided to do the right thing and repeal the archaic 1864 near-total abortion ban,” and she called on the Senate to do the same and “send the repeal to my desk. Immediately.”

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