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Arizona governor signs bill repealing 1864 law that banned nearly all abortions

The Arizona Senate voted 16-14 to repeal the ban on Wednesday. Two Republican lawmakers joined with Democrats to pass the bill.
Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs
Posted at 1:17 PM, May 02, 2024

Arizona's Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs signed a bill on Thursday repealing a near-total ban on abortions in the state.

"This ban needs to be repealed," Hobbs said during remarks at the signing. "Today, we are doing what 23 governors and 55 legislatures refused to do. And I am so proud to be the ones who got this job done."

The Arizona Senate voted 16-14 to repeal the ban on Wednesday. Two Republican lawmakers joined with Democrats to pass the bill.

Under that law, as approved in 1864, abortions were only allowed in cases of saving the mother's life and did not include exceptions for rape or incest. Doctors who assisted with abortions faced anywhere from two to five years in prison.

The law had been superseded and effectively blocked by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, but that federal protection was eliminated when the Supreme Court overturned the historic ruling in June of 2022.

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Depending on legal outcomes, Arizona's repeal may not go into effect until 90 days after the end of the state's legislative session, which may come in June or July. According to Democratic Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, the earliest possible date the law may be in effect is June 27. She has asked Arizona's Supreme Court to wait to enforce the new law until late July.

Once the new law is in effect, the main law that governs abortions in Arizona will be one enacted in 2022 that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.