Arizona Democrats' Attempt to Repeal 1864 Abortion Ban Blocked by GOP

Arizona Democrats’ Attempt to Repeal 1864 Abortion Ban Blocked by GOP

Arizona Democrats attempted to repeal a contentious 1864 legislation that will virtually prohibit almost all abortions in the state, but were blocked by Republicans in both chambers of the legislature on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, lawmakers in Arizona’s House and Senate attempted to overturn the statute, which goes back to the Civil War and predates statehood.

During a heated exchange, Ohio House Rep. Matt Gress (R) attempted to request a vote on the issue before being shot down by others in the GOP, who then called for a recess and adjourned until next week.

Democrats were outraged by the initiative, yelling “Shame!” at their Republican colleagues as they walked out of the legislative chamber.

In the upper chamber, state Senator Anna Hernandez (D) stated that she attempted to speak on the chamber floor and introduce a resolution to repeal the law, but was turned down. Republicans later exited the chamber as well.

“By their actions, the message from this chamber is that they are so pro-life they will kill you,” she stated on X.

Republicans have claimed that they need more time to analyze the implications of the 160-year-old law. According to Axios, state House Speaker Ben Toma (R) supports the measure and would not allow a vote on repeal.

“We do not want to repeal the pre-Roe law without first having a conversation about it,” Republican state Rep. Teresa Martinez stated on the assembly floor Wednesday. “There is no reason to rush on this very important topic. We must listen to all viewpoints thoroughly.”

The move occurred after the state Supreme Court ruled 4-2 that the 150-year-old legislation could take effect, overturning the state’s previous 15-week abortion restriction.

Once in place, the law effectively prohibits the surgery altogether, with exceptions made only when a pregnant woman’s life is in danger. Any health care provider who performs abortions could face a two to five-year jail sentence.

“Physicians are now on notice that all abortions, except those necessary to save a woman’s life, are illegal,” the court stated in its ruling. It further stated that additional penalties could apply to any operations conducted after 15 weeks.

Parties have two weeks to submit legal claims, and Planned Parenthood of Arizona stated that it will continue to fight for abortion rights in the state.

“Abortion is essential care and it is important to note that abortion is STILL accessible in Arizona, for a limited period of time. This is not the end of our fight,” the group stated on X. “While we feel frustrated and dismayed with the Court for stripping our legal right to essential health care, we must harness our anger and take action.”

“We must spread the word and urge our lawmakers to support reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy,” the group continued.