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Arizona lawmakers vote to repeal 19th-century abortion ban – LAW

The Arizona state Senate voted 16-14 to repeal an 1864 abortion ban, leaving Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs to sign the repeal into law, which she had committed to doing.

The debate in the state Senate was contentious, with lawmakers in the gallery delivering theatrical monologues that were often punctuated by cries of protest.

The vote follows a ruling by the Arizona Supreme Court that the 159-year-old law banning abortion was enforceable following the U.S. Supreme Court's 2022 decision to overturn the abortion rights case Roe v. Wade, Referring a 52-year-old case back to court.

The Arizona State House took up and passed the ban repeal bill, HB2677, two weeks after the state Supreme Court's decision, sending the bill to the state Senate.

Arizona's abortion ban was enacted shortly after its designation as an abortion ban US territory and decades before it achieved statehood. The ban was part of the Howell codea comprehensive set of laws enacted by the territory's First Legislative Assembly, encompassing procedural rules and establishing criminal laws ranging from bigamy to dueling to mayhem.

In this code, the relevant part says:

Any person who administers or causes to be administered or taken any medicinal substance or uses or causes to be used any instrument with the intention of causing a miscarriage to a pregnant woman, and shall be duly convicted therefor, shall be liable to imprisonment in the territorial prison for a term not less than two nor more than five punished for years.

The 1864 version provided an exception if a doctor should perform an abortion to save the mother's life. The following year, the provision was amended slightly to state that the life-saving exception could apply to anyone who has an abortion. The regulation has remained largely unchanged since 1865, and the near-total ban on abortion was codified into Arizona state law in the early 20th century.

Anna Harden

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