AZ Dems Seek Repeal Of Key Abortion Ban

( – The GOP-dominated Arizona House of Representatives approved the repeal of a Civil War-era abortion law that would have banned the practice in nearly all situations.

On Wednesday, April 24, the state House voted 32-26 to repeal a law dating back to 1864 that would prohibit abortions under most circumstances. The repeal was supported by all House Democrats who were joined by three Republicans, and overruled another measure by Republican House Speaker Ben Toma to block the bill.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, April 9, that the 160-year-old abortion legislation could still be enforced, leading to mixed reactions. Former President Donald Trump, who’s taken a moderate position on the abortion issue, criticized the decision and called on Arizona lawmakers to fix the situation. The law bans abortions at every stage of pregnancy and only makes exceptions for situations where the mother’s life is at risk.

The Arizona Senate is scheduled to consider the dated legislation on Wednesday, May 1, and the law will go into effect on Saturday, June 8, superseding the current ban on abortion in the state at a cut-off point of 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Democratic state Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton had little doubt that the request would go through, and called Wednesday’s decision a “step closer” to repealing the Civil War-era abortion ban. She also thanked Republican state Rep. Matt Gress for joining with her conference to allow the repeal to move toward a vote in the Senate.

When asked Tuesday how she feels about the Democratic effort in the Arizona State Legislature to repeal an 1864 abortion ban before it goes into effect, Democratic state Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton laughed.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs commented on the decision and said she was “thrilled” that lawmakers “finally decided to do the right thing.” She described the abortion law as “archaic,” and called on the state Senate to follow the House’s lead by sending the repeal to her desk “immediately.”

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