Repeal Signed, Ban Officially Overturned

( – The Arizona Senate voted on May 1 to repeal an 1864 near-total ban on abortions that the state’s Supreme Court voted to uphold in April.

A week after three Republicans in the state House voted with all 29 Democrats to repeal the restriction, State Senators T.J. Shope and Shawnna Bolick voted with Democrats to pass the repeal 16 to 14. Democratic Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs promised to rapidly sign the repeal into state law.

Following April’s ruling, justices decided to pause the enforcement of the ban for two weeks to give advocates the opportunity to repeal the law using a lower court. If the strict law were to go into effect in Arizona, it would have strictly banned nearly all abortions except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk. Hobbs signed the H.B. 2677 repeal on May 2.

Hobbs described the April ruling as a “dark day” for Arizona, encouraging advocates for reproductive rights to voice their views in the November presidential election. The 1864 ban, unenforced for several decades after abortion was legalized by the Supreme Court in the 1973 Roe v Wade decision, was first enacted before Arizona became a state.

Hobbs promised to do all in her power to protect abortion rights. In 2023, she issued an executive order preventing county attorneys from prosecuting doctors who carry out abortions and the women seeking them.

During the signing ceremony of the May repeal, Democratic Representative Stephanie Stahl Hamilton called it a “historic moment” and a time to discard what is in the past that does not belong in the present.

Planned Parenthood Arizona president and CEO Angela Florez commented before the repeal that they would continue to provide much-needed healthcare within the confines of the law. A longtime provider of abortions in Phoenix, Dr Gabrielle Goodrick, stated that her clinic would continue providing abortions through the 14-day pause period. The state’s Democratic Attorney General Kris Mayes said it would take until at least June 27 for the 1864 law to be enforceable.

Arizona is now in a temporary state of limbo regarding abortion, as the repeal will not enter effect until 90 days after the state’s legislature adjourns. Pro-choice activists are campaigning for a suggested amendment that would establish a constitutional right to abortion in Arizona. This would replace the current 15-week limit with one that allows abortions up to 24 weeks if the mother’s health or life is at risk.

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