Arizona Repeals Civil War-Era Abortion Law

( – Arizona legislators have repealed a 160-year-old law that banned almost all abortions in the state. While the move was solidly backed by Democrats, it took Republican support to get it across the line. With the state’s governor already having said she’ll sign the bill, the controversial law it overturns will soon be a thing of the past.

When the Supreme Court reached its controversial Roe v Wade decision in 1973, Arizona’s strict abortion law dating back to 1864 fell into disuse. One of the toughest laws in the country, it only allowed abortions to save the life of the mother –- and when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade in June 2022, it came back into force.

Since then, it has been suspended by a court and then upheld by the state supreme court. Governor Katie Hobbs (D) and Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) have both said they wouldn’t enforce the law, which was due to come into effect on June 8. Finally, the state legislature introduced legislation to repeal it.

The move to repeal the Civil War-era law was led by Democrats, but some Republicans –- even Republicans with a long pro-life record –- backed it too. Even for some abortion opponents the 1864 law, which has no exemptions for rape or incest, is too harsh. When it came up for a vote in the Arizona House, two GOP representatives voted with Democrats to pass it. On May 1, it reached the Arizona Senate, and again two Republicans voted with Democrats, passing the bill in a narrow 16 to 14 victory. Its next step is to go to Hobbs, and she’s already confirmed that she’ll sign it into law.

Not everyone is happy with the repeal bill. Some conservatives are angry at their GOP colleagues who voted for repeal. However, others are pinning their hopes on a post-Roe law, also currently suspended by the Arizona Supreme Court, that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks.

Copyright 2024,