Arizona House Republicans Vote Against Hearing Bill to Repeal Abortion Ban

Jacob Burg
By Jacob Burg
April 17, 2024Politics
Arizona House Republicans Vote Against Hearing Bill to Repeal Abortion Ban
Arizona Republic photographer Nick Oza and Associated Press journalist Bob Christie report from the gallery of the Arizona House of Representatives after reporters were denied access to the floor pending criminal and civil background checks, in Phoenix on April 7, 2016. (Ryan VanVelzer/AP Photo)

Arizona’s Republican-led House of Representatives declined to discuss a bill on April 17 that would repeal the state’s 1864 abortion ban after the state Supreme Court upheld the controversial law a week prior.

The lawmakers voted not to discuss the measure on the House floor after two previous attempts were also unsuccessful. The law has heightened political tensions in the state since the Supreme Court’s April 9 ruling, with Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake reversing her previous support for the law after former President Donald Trump said it went too far in recent comments.

Votes on whether to discuss the bill to repeal the abortion ban were evenly split between both parties. The chair made the tie-breaking vote, preventing the bill from reaching the floor.

“The last thing we should be doing today is rushing a bill through the legislative process to repeal a law that has been enacted and affirmed by the legislature several times,” House Speaker Ben Toma said during a floor debate.

Former Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed a 15-week abortion ban into law in 2022, the same year Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a similar bill in Florida. If lawmakers successfully repeal Arizona’s 1864 abortion ban, the state would revert to the 15-week law, which only allows exceptions in the event of a medical emergency for the mother. There are, however, no exceptions for rape or incest.

Ms. Lake and President Trump have already distanced themselves from the 1864 law, even after Ms. Lake supported it during her 2022 gubernatorial campaign. The former president said the state legislature should work with Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs to formulate a different approach.

“It’ll be straightened out, and I’m sure that the governor and everybody else are going to bring it back into reason, and that’ll be taken care of, I think, very quickly,” President Trump said to reporters in Atlanta on April 10.

He also said in a long-awaited statement on abortion that states should be able to decide on how to regulate abortion instead of the federal government enacting either nationwide access or ban laws.

State lawmakers ended a previous House session early to prevent a different effort to repeal the 1864 abortion ban from reaching the floor. On April 15, CNN obtained a draft proposal from Arizona House Republicans’ general counsel that discussed plans to dismantle or limit the effects of a potential abortion access ballot referendum.

That initiative, sponsored by Arizona for Abortion Access, has until July 3 to secure enough petition signatures for ballot placement in November. The sponsor told NBC on April 2 that it had secured enough signatures but would continue collecting more up to election day.

That initiative would enshrine abortion access in Arizona’s Constitution if a majority of voters approve of it in November. It allows abortion up to the point of fetal viability, which many say is between 23 and 24 weeks after conception.

Democrats in Arizona jumped on the failed repeal of the 1864 abortion ban as they work towards retaking the state House and Senate, which Republicans narrowly control with one-seat majorities.

Democratic state Sen. Priya Sundareshan called Republicans’ votes to refuse to discuss a repeal as “a perfect example of why [Democrats] need to flip” the Arizona House and Senate.

“Only then will we be able to codify abortion access and stop Republicans from interfering in our medical decisions ever again,” Ms. Sundareshan said in a statement.

Both supporters and opponents of the 1864 abortion ban were demonstrating outside the Arizona statehouse on April 17.

Arizona Right to Life board member and opponent of the ban Jill Norgaard called abortion a “moral issue” and not a “political issue.”

Abortion ballot initiative sponsor Arizona for Abortion Access is hosting a rally near the statehouse in the afternoon on April 17.

The Epoch Times reached out to Arizona for Abortion Access for comment.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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