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Arizona House votes to repeal 1864 abortion law, measure now heads to the state Senate

The Republican-controlled Arizona House on Wednesday approved repealing a Abortion of 1864 law that would have banned nearly all abortions, sending the measure to the state Senate.

The state Senate is expected to consider the law on May 1. The 1864 law is set to take effect on June 8 and would replace the current 15-week ban on abortion.

In Wednesday’s contentious session, three Republicans joined all Democrats in a 32-28 vote to overrule Republican House Speaker Ben Toma, who had twice previously blocked the project’s progress of law. Republicans control the House by a margin of 31-29.

Earlier this month, the state Supreme Court ruled that the highly restrictive 160-year-old law that bans almost all abortions could be enforced – blocking the procedure in all cases except to save the life of the woman. mother.

When asked Tuesday what she thought about the Democratic effort in the Arizona State Legislature to repeal a Ban on abortion in 1864 Before it took effect, Democratic Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton laughed.

“I’ve been told we might get a clean repeal tomorrow, but you know, who knows, right?” » said Stahl Hamilton. “Who knows who loses their cool, you know, the night before? Or a few minutes before, you know? All I know is we have to keep trying. And the people of Arizona need us to continue to do everything we can to repeal this law.”

On Wednesday, Stahl Hamilton said she was “grateful” to Rep. Matt Gress, one of the Republicans who joined Democrats, for allowing the bill to come up for a vote Wednesday.

The law is “one step closer to repealing it,” Stahl Hamilton said.

Arizona State Representative Stephanie Stahl Hamilton listens during a legislative session at the Arizona House April 17, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona.

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The April 17 attempt to repeal the ban through a temporary rule change failed by one vote. With the support of two Republican senators, the Upper House was able to move forward in getting a first reading of a repeal bill, but two more readings are needed before it can be put to a vote.

Toma has been a vocal critic of Democrats on abortion. In a statement released immediately after the Arizona Supreme Court’s decision, Toma said the Legislature would “take the time necessary to listen to our constituents and carefully consider appropriate actions, rather than rushing legislation on a matter of this magnitude without a broader discussion.

He also claimed in his statement that “under the Democrats’ view, partial-birth abortions would be permitted and minors could have abortions on request without parental consent or a court order,” although there was no indication that a repeal of the 160-year-old law would achieve either.

Arizona Senate Democrats have sowed doubt about the future of any repeal effort in the House. Stahl Hamilton acknowledged that gaining Republican support to repeal the ban is a daunting task. Even though they seem to have enough numbers to do so, she fears that at the last minute, minds will change.

Democratic Sen. Eva Burch told CBS News that Arizona’s Republican caucus is fractured and can’t agree on how to address the prospect of a Civil War-era abortion ban that would come into force.

“I have no confidence that repeal will happen, certainly not in the way that it should, not in the way that is being asked for. We’re already past that point,” Burch said.

“So, do I think they’re going to come together and do the right thing?” » Burch continued. “I don’t believe that’s what’s going to happen at all.”

Democratic Sen. Anna Hernandez also said she was not confident in the prospect of any repeal effort, but noted that “anything can happen.”

Arizona Right to Life, an anti-abortion group, is calling on lawmakers to oppose these efforts and also plans to organize in the state capitol.

Elizabeth Campbell contributed reporting.

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