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Tags: arizona | abortion

Ariz. Republicans Blocking Dem Attempts to Repeal 1864 Abortion Ban

Wednesday, 17 April 2024 03:16 PM EDT

Democrats in the Arizona House of Representatives tried repeatedly on Wednesday to repeal an 1864 ban on abortion that is poised to become state law once again, but were blocked each time by Republicans in the closely divided legislature.

In four votes, the chamber deadlocked 30-30 on a motion that would allow a repeal bill to come to the floor, with one Republican joining the 29 Democrats. The chamber went into recess after the fourth vote and was due to reconvene later in the day to possibly try again, leaving the final outcome in suspense.

Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs called Republicans obstructing the repeal "extremists."

"I will continue to call on the legislature to do its job and repeal this law," Hobbs said in a statement after the fourth 30-30 vote. "A law from 1864 written by 27 men cannot be allowed to govern the lives of millions of Arizona women."

If the repeal passes in the House, Democrats also will need help in the Senate, where Republicans hold a 16-14 edge.

A state Supreme Court ruling on April 9 revived a ban on nearly all abortions under a law written during the U.S. Civil War when Arizona was not yet a state and women lacked the right to vote.

The law, which would take effect within 60 days, imposes a sentence of two to five years for anyone found guilty of inducing an abortion except for a doctor who deems it necessary to save the life of the mother.

The ruling added fuel to a raging debate across the United States over abortion rights ahead of the Nov. 5 election.

Democrats, confident that public opinion is on their side in supporting abortion rights, have sought to elevate the issue since the U.S. Supreme Court rescinded the constitutional right to abortion in 2022 and Republican-led states went about setting new restrictions.

Arizona House Democrats sought to repeal the ban a week ago, but were thwarted by the narrow Republican majority of 31-29. On Wednesday, Republican Representative Matt Gress joined the Democrats, but one more vote was needed.

Crossing party lines on such an issue is rare in highly partisan times.

A repeal of the 1864 law would leave in place an already strict law Republicans passed in 2022 that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Some Republicans have softened their hardline stance on abortion, mindful of the same polling that has emboldened Democrats. Arizona Democrats are attempting to place a ballot measure before voters in November that would restore abortion rights.

One influential anti-abortion voice urged Republicans to stand by previous pledges to ban abortion unless needed to save the life of the mother.

"Arizonans deserve lawmakers they can trust. They want elected officials who keep their word, especially when it concerns human life," Cathi Herrod, president of the advocacy group Center for Arizona Policy, said in a statement.

Democrat Stephanie Stahl Hamilton, sponsor of the repeal bill, said Herrod's warning "certainly ups the pressure" on Republicans.

© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


Newsfront
Democrats in the Arizona House of Representatives tried repeatedly on Wednesday to repeal an 1864 ban on abortion that is poised to become state law once again, but were blocked each time by Republicans in the closely divided legislature.In four votes, the chamber...
arizona, abortion
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2024-16-17
Wednesday, 17 April 2024 03:16 PM
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