Arizona House Of Reps Votes To Overturn State’s 160-Year-Old Abortion Ban, Setting Stage For A Repeal

Arizona State Reps. Alex Kolodin, left, and Travis Grantham, right, speak during a legislative session at the Arizona House of Representatives on April 17, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. Arizona House Republicans blocked the Democrats from holding a vote to overturn the 1864 abortion ban revived last week by the Arizona Supreme Court. (Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
12:04 PM – Thursday, April 25, 2024

The state’s 160-year-old abortion ban was overturned by the Arizona House of Representatives on Wednesday, paving the way for a repeal that would preserve the state’s 15-week abortion restriction.


Democrats aimed to overturn the prohibition after the state Supreme Court brought it back to life earlier this month. The vote follows two unsuccessful attempts by lawmakers in the Republican-controlled state House to bring the bill to the floor last week.

On Wednesday, all 29 Democrats and three Republicans voted in favor of the legislation’s advancement. Early in May, the state Senate is anticipated to approve the repeal bill. Additionally, if lawmakers get the bill to Governor Katie Hobbs’ (D-Ariz.) desk, the Democrat leader is anticipated to sign it.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Athena Salman, the executive director of Arizona campaigns for Reproductive Freedom for All, previously NARAL Pro-Choice America.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on April 9th that the state must uphold the 1864 statute, which outlaws abortions except in situations where they are necessary to preserve the life of a pregnant woman. Additionally, the law punishes abortion providers with two to five years in prison.

“I am disgusted today,” state Representative Rachel Jones (R-Ariz.) said. “Life is one of the tenants of our Republican platform. To see people go back on that value is egregious to me.”

Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Ariz.) said lawmakers acted hastily to overturn the restriction, stating that he opposed abortions in general except when they are necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life.

One of the Republicans who voted with the Democrats, state Representative Matt Gress (R-Ariz.), claimed that the ban did not represent the views of the majority of Arizonans.

“I think it was more difficult than it needed to be,” Gress told CNN.

“I campaigned against the territorial ban and made it very clear to my voters that I don’t support it,” he continued.

The 1864 statute could go into effect as early as June 8th if a repeal vote in the state Senate is unsuccessful. Arizona would then join more than a dozen other states that forbid abortion in almost all circumstances, with limited exceptions.

Arizona’s 15-week abortion ban will remain state law if it is successful. Officials cautioned that non-emergency legislation passed in Arizona may be temporarily enforced because it does not go into effect until ninety days following the Legislature’s adjournment.

Prior to statehood, during the Civil War, there was an abortion prohibition that was codified in 1901. It was in force until 1973, when Roe v. Wade established a federal constitutional right to an abortion, at which point it was stopped by a court order.

Then-Governor Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.) enacted the state’s 15-week ban in March 2022—a few months before the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade. The rule does not provide an exception for rape or incest. That act made it clear that it did not supersede the 1864 statute.

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