The repeal of the near-total abortion ban is going to be voted on by the Arizona Senate

CBS News

The Arizona Senate on Wednesday will vote on legislation to repeal the state’s 160-year-old near-total abortion ban, three weeks after the state Supreme Court revived the law and thrust reproductive rights into the political spotlight.
Katie Hobbs signs it, as expected, it would clear the way for the state’s 15-week limit to remain state law.
The Civil War-era ban was first introduced in 1864 and codified in 1901, before Arizona gained statehood in 1912.
On April 9, the state Supreme Court ruled that the ban should be the state law.
At the state legislature-level, they plan to target vulnerable House Republicans over their past anti-abortion votes.
Abortion rights advocates are also gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to enshrine abortion rights into the state constitution.
Still, repeal would be a blow to abortion opponents, who have rallied at the state capitol in recent weeks and praised the ban.
Several Arizona House members, including House Speaker Ben Toma, spoke out against the repeal last week.


The 160-year-old near-total abortion ban in Arizona is up for repeal, and the state Senate will vote on the legislation on Wednesday. This comes three weeks after the state Supreme Court brought the law back to life and brought reproductive rights back into the political mainstream.

In order to pass the repeal, Democrats need the support of two Republicans. Republican Sens. Bolick from Shawnna and T. I. J. Shope has expressed support for lifting the ban and has voted in favor of the repeal legislation in recent weeks alongside the 14 Democratic members of the chamber.

The vote takes place one week after three Republicans and all 29 Democrats in the state House teamed up to repeal a law that forbids abortions at all stages of pregnancy save those necessary to save the mother’s life and threatens to jail abortionists for two to five years.

If the Senate passes the repeal and Democratic Gov. As anticipated, Katie Hobbs signs it, paving the way for the state’s 15-week limit to continue as state law. The 2022 restriction makes no allowances for incest or rape.

There has been growing pressure on Republicans, who control a one-seat majority in both the state House and Senate, to repeal the legislation known locally as the “territorial ban” and the “pre-Roe”—a reference to the statute that came before Roe v. Wade and the status of Arizona.

Prominent Republicans, including former Gov. Kari Lake, a candidate for the Senate, and Doug Ducey, a former president of Donald Trump, have all urged lawmakers to act to moderate the ban.

It’s unclear what would happen to the state’s access to abortions in the short term if that law was repealed. The Democratic Attorney General of the state, Kris Mayes, stated that the court’s April 9 ruling reinstating the pre-Roe ban has been stayed and will not become operative until June 27 at the latest. However, the repeal would not take effect until ninety days following the end of the Arizona legislative session.

Mayes requested on Tuesday that her office be given an extra ninety days to decide whether to appeal the court’s ruling to the United States Supreme Court.

Arizona became a state in 1912, but not before the Civil War ban was first imposed in 1864 and officially codified in 1901. After the US Supreme Court’s Roe v. Nixon decision in 1973, the law was halted by a court order. the Wade ruling. The state passed a 15-week limit with the clear intention of upholding the pre-Roe ban, months before Roe was overturned in June 2022. The state Supreme Court decided on April 9 that the prohibition ought to become state law.

Removing the ban would be the reward for years of activism for proponents of abortion rights. Legislation to lift the territorial ban was first proposed by Democrats in 2019.

Democratic lawmakers contend that the 15-week limit and its lack of rape or incest exceptions make the law unpopular even in the event that it is repealed. They intend to attack vulnerable House Republicans for their previous anti-abortion votes at the state legislature level.

In order to lessen the influence of reproductive rights as a voting issue, Republicans believe that a 15-week limit would be more acceptable to voters.

GOP strategist Barrett Marson, who is based in Arizona, stated, “There’s definitely still fallout.”. Republicans will, however, benefit greatly from the fact that the territorial ban is no longer enforceable. “.

Arizona is not only a battleground for the US Senate and presidency, but it also features two close US House races and several close state legislature races that could determine who controls the state Senate and house. Not since the 1960s have Democrats controlled both houses of Congress.

In addition, proponents of abortion rights are gathering signatures on a ballot initiative to include abortion rights in the state constitution.

Removing the ban would be a setback for those who oppose abortion, as they have demonstrated outside the state capitol in recent weeks and expressed support for it. The repeal was criticized last week by a number of Arizona House members, including Speaker Ben Toma.

The state representative said, “I am disgusted today.”. Last week, Rachel Jones stated. “A cornerstone of our Republican platform is life. It bothers me greatly to see people abandon that ideal. “.

This story was supported by CNN’s Jason Kravarik and Natasha Chen.

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