Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Arizona Senate passes repeal of 1864 abortion ban

By 37ci3 May1,2024



The Arizona Senate on Wednesday overturned the state’s ban on abortion almost entirely, capping a week-long legislative battle to respond to a bombshell state Supreme Court ruling that upheld the state’s 1864 law.

The draft law was issued by the state assembly confirmed last week, will soon go to Democratic Gov. Kathy Hobbs. Hobbs said he expects to sign the bill Thursday.

Two state Senate Republicans — Shawnna Bolick and TJ Shope — joined all 14 Democrats in the narrowly divided chamber in approving a repeal of a Civil War-era law that gave doctors the power to jail them for providing almost any type of abortion.

With the support of those two Republican senators, House Democrats quickly cleared procedural hurdles and quickly moved to a vote.

In a long and nuanced speech before giving her keynote, Bolik told several emotional stories of women who suffered major complications during pregnancy and needed care that would have been limited under the 1864 law — while making clear her opposition to reproductive health groups. and abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.

Bolik concluded her 21-minute speech, which was interrupted several times by lawmakers and protesters, by saying that all the pregnancies she talked about were her own.

“Even though my life was not in danger at the time, would Arizona’s pre-Roe law have allowed me to have this medical procedure?” Bolik asked rhetorically at one point. She was referring to the dilation and curettage procedure she needed during the first trimester of her nonviable pregnancy.

“Having a ‘D and C’ in the first trimester because the baby was so difficult to survive,” Bolick said.

Despite high expectations ahead of Wednesday’s hearing, Democrats were expected to get the support they needed in the GOP-controlled Senate to pass the repeal. Earlier this month, members of the state Senate voted in favor of a repeal bill after those two Republicans joined every Democrat in the chamber in that vote.

On Wednesday, Republican opponents of the repeal issued their own speech explaining their vote.

State Sen. Anthony Kern called the 1864 law “the best abortion ban in the nation” and likened Bolick and Shop to Nazi officers who sent Jewish citizens to various fates.

Kern said: “We have two Republicans voting with Democrats to repeal the abortion ban, and at the same time saying, ‘I’m pro-life.’ , it’s wrong,” he said, “looks like Nazi Germany.”

Wednesday’s state Senate hearing came a week after the state House voted to repeal the ban in its third attempt in as many weeks. Three Republicans joined 29 Democrats on the vote in the narrowly divided chamber, giving the measure enough support to advance.

Passage of the bill by both houses does not guarantee that the repeal of the abortion law will take effect soon.

First, the bill must still go to Hobbs, who has said he will sign it, although Republicans in both chambers may delay getting the bill to his office.

In addition to, Under the Arizona State Constitution, repeal laws take effect 90 days after the end of the legislative session. Arizona does not have a fixed legislative calendar, meaning Republicans could keep the session open with the intention of further delaying repeal.

Last year’s session ended in late July, so if this year’s session had ended at the same time, the repeal wouldn’t have happened until late October or early November.

Arizona Attorney General Chris Mayes, a Democrat, said the 1864 ban would go into effect on June 27, rather than June 8, as his office had originally said, citing his office’s interpretation of the state Supreme Court’s procedural rules.

As a result, although both chambers have already been abolished, the ban is likely to remain in effect for some time. Mayes said Wednesday that his office is still “exploring every option available to prevent the law from ever going into effect.”

Wednesday’s state Senate hearing is the latest chapter in the battle over abortion rights in a key battleground after the Arizona Supreme Court ruled last month.

The conservative court ruled that the law, which punishes anyone who obtains an abortion or assists a woman in obtaining an abortion, with two to five years in prison is enforceable. The law In 1901 and again in 1913, after Arizona became a state, it was codified and banned abortions from the moment of conception, but included an exception to save the woman’s life.

A fully enforced repeal of the 1864 ban would likely result in a return to the 15-week period as public policy. prohibition On abortions enacted in 2022, it provides an exception for medical emergencies, but not for rape or consanguinity.

The ongoing saga has raised the stakes surrounding a constitutional amendment that will appear on the Arizona ballot this November but would allow voters to decide the future of abortion rights in the state.

They are organizers likely to succeed placing on the ballot a proposed amendment that would create a “fundamental right” to receive abortion care until fetal viability, or about the 24th week of pregnancy. If voters approve the ballot measure, it would effectively repeal both the general prohibition of 1864 and the 15-week ban.

But the state Supreme Court’s decision has Republicans debating it, too a series of possible emergenciesincluding pushing alternative ballot measures to compete with the proposed amendment’s pro-abortion rights.

Abortion rights groups welcomed the news Wednesday but vowed to continue building support around the ballot.

“While we celebrate today’s important step, we know the fight is far from over,” Arizona Planned Parenthood Advocate Angela Florez said in a statement.



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