Arizona state legislature passes bill repealing 1864 abortion ban

In their third attempt in three weeks, Arizona lawmakers on Wednesday passed a bill to repeal a near-total ban on abortion from 1864 that the battleground state's Supreme Court upheld earlier this month.

After whirlwind voting throughout the afternoon, three state House Republicans joined Democrats in approving the repeal of a Civil War-era law that made abortion a felony, allowing abortions to be performed and women assisted in getting pregnant. Those who did so were sentenced to two to five years in prison. One.

Last week, state senators, who also have a narrow Republican majority, voted in favor of a bill to repeal the abortion ban. All Democrats in the chamber were joined by two Republicans in this vote.

The state Senate could vote on the repeal as early as next Wednesday, after the bill is brought to the floor for “third reading,” as required by legislative rules.

An Arizona official with knowledge of the situation told NBC News that the state Senate is likely to vote to repeal the law. If that happens, Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs is sure to sign the repeal quickly.

Abortion rights supporters and Democrats all the way to the White House praised the Arizona lawmaker's decision to pass the repeal.

“That's a good thing,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said of the vote. “We are moving in the right direction.”

The state Legislature's vote to repeal was the chamber's third since the state Supreme Court ruled earlier this month upholding the 160-year-old near-total ban.

The ruling prompted Republicans across the country, including former President Donald Trump, to call on the state's lawmakers in the nearly two years since the U.S. Supreme Court decision, amid widespread political backlash against Republicans on reproductive rights issues. He called for the ban to be repealed. Roe vs. Wade.

However, Republicans in the Arizona Legislature, who hold a narrow majority, were adamant about passing the repeal bill.

But on Wednesday, as pressure mounted, Republicans in the chamber finally appeared to relent, with three Republicans — state Reps. Matt Gress, Tim Dunn and Justin Wilmes — joining the 29 Democrats in the chamber. joined in passing the abolition.

Republican lawmakers opposed to the repeal implored their colleagues to reject the bill a third time in allowed remarks during the vote.

“We should not have rushed this bill through the legislative process,” said Republican state House Speaker Ben Thoma. “Instead, today we rush to judgment.”

House Speaker Pro Tempore Travis Grantham said he was “heartbroken that you're here to witness this” and cast a “no” vote. “I'm proud of the Republican caucus for continuing to fight this issue,” Grantham added, accusing Democrats of using the issue as a political bludgeon.

“It's disgusting to see how this is being used against one party and as a weaponization of this issue,” he said. At the end of Wednesday's hearing, Grantham called the vote a “terrible, disgusting situation” and stripped Gress and Democratic Minority Leader Assistant Oscar de los Santos of their committee assignments. did.

Just last week, while the state legislature was in session. sessionthe Democrats in the chamber. invoice He filed a motion asking House Republican leaders to take an immediate vote to repeal the 160-year-old abortion ban. The vote was rejected, and the Democratic Party moved to force a vote again, but this too fell short.

Republicans could more easily override the vote because it was subject to a procedural vote to suspend state House rules. Under Arizona House rules, a majority of the chamber, including the speaker, must vote in favor of suspending the rules for an immediate vote. No such obstacles existed Wednesday, as the vote took place within regular House orders.

Wednesday's case was the latest chapter in the fight for abortion rights in a key battleground following the Arizona Supreme Court's bombshell decision earlier this month.

The law, ruled enforceable by a conservative-leaning court, makes abortion a felony and punishes anyone who performs an abortion or helps a woman obtain an abortion from two to five years in prison. It is said to be a possibility.of law The law, codified in 1901 and again in 1913 after Arizona gained statehood, prohibits abortion from the moment of pregnancy, but includes exceptions to save a woman's life. It is.

The law is scheduled to take effect June 8, but Democratic Attorney General Chris Mays said he is exploring ways to delay the law's effective date.

Despite ongoing repeal efforts, voters will have the power to decide the future of abortion rights in their states this November.

Organizers within the state are likely to be successful in putting a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would create a “fundamental right” to access abortion care until the fetus is viable, or until about 24 weeks of pregnancy. If voters approve the ballot measure, it would effectively repeal the 1864 Prohibition, which remains law in the state.

The bill would also prohibit states from restricting abortion care in situations where a pregnant person's health or life is at risk beyond the point of viability, according to medical experts.

But in the wake of the state Supreme Court's ruling, Republicans have launched a series of moves that could reverse that effort, including pushing for alternative voting measures that compete with pro-abortion rights amendments, according to a leaked playbook. They also began discussing emergencies. Document distributed among Arizona Republicans.

At a brief hearing in the state House Rules Committee on Wednesday, Republicans voted to advance three resolutions, the contents of which were not explained, but Democrats and abortion rights supporters said they were not willing to support Republicans. He said it is likely to be a ballot measure.

“I can't say what the topic will be,” said Grantham, Speaker pro tempore, who led the hearing.

Chris Love, Arizona's abortion access spokesperson, called the resolutions “three disingenuous placeholder bills,” calling them “a step toward putting up to three anti-abortion measures on the November ballot.” “It is a step forward, and its purpose is to confuse and deceive voters in the hopes of having their votes rescinded.” It's a vote from the Arizona Abortion Access Act. ”

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/arizona-abortion-ban-lawmakers-repeal-rcna149181 Arizona state legislature passes bill repealing 1864 abortion ban

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