Democrat Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signed legislation Thursday to repeal the state’s 160-year-old ban on most abortions.

Just one day earlier, the Arizona state Senate voted to repeal the ban.

“Democrats in the state Senate succeeded in peeling away enough Republican votes to repeal an abortion ban first passed in 1864,” Arizona Mirror wrote.

“The push to repeal it came after the state Supreme Court ruled it was once again enforceable, and Hobbs’ signature ended weeks of turmoil as the Republican-majority legislature grappled with the political fallout,” the outlet added.

However, the repeal won’t take effect until 90 days after the legislative session ends, which is typically in June or July.


“Today, we are doing what 23 governors and 55 legislatures refused to do and I am so proud to be the ones that got this job done,” Hobbs said.


From the Associated Press:

The effort to repeal the long-dormant law, which bans all abortions except those done to save a patient’s life, won final legislative approval Wednesday in a 16-14 vote of the Senate, as two GOP lawmakers joined with Democrats.

Hobbs denounced “a ban that was passed by 27 men before Arizona was even a state, at a time when America was at war over the right to own slaves, a time before women could even vote.”

“This ban needs to be repealed, I said it in 2022 when Roe was overturned, and I said it again and again as governor,” Hobbs said during the bill signing.

In early April, Arizona’s Supreme Court voted to restore the 1864 law that provided no exceptions for rape or incest and allows abortions only if the mother’s life is in jeopardy. The majority opinion suggested doctors could be prosecuted and sentenced to up to five years in prison if convicted.

Arizona Mirror reports:

But while Hobbs’ approval removes that threat from state law, she noted that access to abortion is still not guaranteed. With the repeal of the 1864 law, a 2022 law banning abortions after 15 weeks takes precedence.

That law prohibits abortions beyond its gestational deadline unless a woman faces permanent injury or life-threatening medical complications. Doctors who violate its provisions are subject to a class 6 felony and revoked licenses. It includes no exceptions for rape or incest, and reproductive rights advocates have sounded the alarm over what they view as insufficient protections for women dealing with pregnancy complications; in other states with similarly restrictive laws, doctors have reported delaying care as long as possible to avoid criminalization, leading to worse health outcomes for their patients.

And while the repeal of the 1864 law is now finalized, it won’t be effective until months after the state Supreme Court ruled it can be enforced on June 27. That’s because bills signed by the governor don’t go into effect until 90 days after the end of the legislative session, and with the state budget still being negotiated, that likely won’t happen for several more weeks yet, pushing the repeal’s effectiveness date into the fall at the earliest.

On Thursday, Hobbs told reporters her office and legislative leadership are still working on the budget, and said she expects a final plan to be reached “soon” but didn’t expand beyond that.

In response to the conflicting timelines, Democrats and abortion advocacy groups have sought to use legal maneuvers to delay the reimplementation of the 1864 law until the repeal can go into effect. Earlier this week, one day before the repeal was successful, Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes filed a motion with the state Supreme Court requesting a 90-day reprieve while her office explored the possibility of appealing the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

And hours after the repeal bill passed the state Senate, Planned Parenthood Arizona, the state’s largest abortion provider, filed a motion asking the state Supreme Court to delay its ruling in light of the legislature’s action. The Arizona Supreme Court has ordered parties in the case to file arguments on whether to approve a delay by next week.

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