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Arizona Republicans Hinder Democratic Efforts to Revoke 1864 Abortion Ban

Arizona Abortion Ban (Credits: CNN)

In the Arizona House of Representatives, Democrats faced staunch opposition from Republicans as they attempted to repeal an 1864 ban on abortion. Despite repeated efforts, they were blocked each time in the closely divided legislature.

In a series of four votes, the chamber reached a deadlock of 30-30 on a motion to bring a repeal bill to the floor, with one Republican siding with the 29 Democrats. Following the fourth vote, the chamber went into recess, leaving the final outcome uncertain pending a potential reconvening later in the day.

Governor Katie Hobbs criticized Republicans for obstructing the repeal, denouncing them as “extremists” and urging the legislature to fulfill its duty. She emphasized that a law from 1864, authored by 27 men, should not dictate the lives of millions of Arizona women.

Abortion Ban (Credits: Axios)

For the repeal to pass in the House, Democrats also require support in the Senate, where Republicans hold a narrow 16-14 edge. The state Supreme Court’s recent ruling revived the ban on nearly all abortions, which was originally enacted under a law dating back to the U.S. Civil War era.

This law, set to take effect within 60 days, imposes sentences of two to five years for those found guilty of inducing an abortion, with exceptions only for cases where a doctor deems it necessary to save the mother’s life. The ruling intensified the nationwide debate on abortion rights, especially with the upcoming Nov. 5 election.

In response to the Supreme Court ruling, Democrats have been seeking to raise the issue of abortion rights, confident that public opinion is in their favor. This effort comes in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 2022 to rescind the constitutional right to abortion, leading many Republican-led states to enact new restrictions.

Arizona Republicans uphold 1864 abortion ban (Credits: Reuters)

Despite the narrow Republican majority, Democrats in the Arizona House have been persistent in their attempts to repeal the ban. While some Republicans have shown flexibility on abortion issues, others remain steadfast in their commitment to banning abortion except in cases where it is necessary to save the mother’s life.

The pressure on Republicans has increased, with influential anti-abortion voices urging them to uphold their promises to restrict abortion. However, Democrat Stephanie Stahl Hamilton, sponsor of the repeal bill, remains hopeful that Republicans may reconsider their stance in light of public sentiment and mounting pressure.

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