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Arizona Senate Introduces Bill To Repeal 160-Year-Old Abortion Ban

Denton’s city council meets to vote on abortion trigger law enforcement a low priority

Arizona's long-standing 1864 abortion ban may soon be repealed as a bill was successfully introduced in the state Senate on Wednesday. This move comes after a similar effort in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives failed to advance.

The Senate's progress on the bill was made possible with the support of two Republicans, state Sens. T.J. Shope and Shawnna Bolick, who aligned with Democrats in the GOP-controlled chamber. The bill passed by a vote of 16 to 14, requiring a special vote due to its filing after the legislature's regular deadline.

Despite this initial success, the bill must still undergo the full legislative process in the Senate, including three days of consideration before a final vote and potential transfer to the House for further review.

Two Republican senators align with Democrats to pass bill by 16-14 vote.
Arizona Senate advances bill to repeal long-standing abortion ban.
Bill faces full legislative process in Senate before potential transfer to House.

The recent revival of the Civil War-era law by the state Supreme Court has stirred controversy in Arizona. The court's decision was based on the US Supreme Court's 2022 ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, leaving the state law enforceable. Previous attempts by the Arizona legislature to repeal the ban had been unsuccessful, causing frustration among abortion rights activists, Democrats, and GOP candidates in competitive races.

Former President Donald Trump and US Senate candidate Kari Lake, among others, have urged the GOP-controlled legislature to collaborate with Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs for a more moderate approach on the issue.

Earlier on Wednesday, the state House faced a deadlock in discussions regarding the bill to repeal the 1864 abortion ban. Lawmakers were evenly split on the matter, with the chair ultimately deciding not to bring the bill up for a vote.

If the 1864 law is repealed, Arizona would revert to a 15-week abortion restriction enacted in 2022 by then-Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican. The state court has temporarily halted the enforcement of the ban to allow for legal challenges, ensuring that abortions remain permissible in the state.

The existing ban only allows abortions to save the life of the pregnant person and imposes prison sentences of two to five years on providers. If the 1864 law is reinstated, Arizona would join 14 other states that have implemented near-total abortion bans, some without exceptions for victims of rape or incest.

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