Arizona’s 1864 pro-life law survives another repeal attempt | WORLD
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Arizona’s 1864 pro-life law survives another repeal attempt

The Arizona House of Representatives building Associated Press/Photo by Ross D. Franklin

Arizona’s 1864 pro-life law survives another repeal attempt

Legislators in the Republican-controlled Arizona House of Representatives once on Wednesday hesitated to pass a bill that would have overturned a 160-year-old pro-life law. Democrats and some Republicans have pushed to repeal the controversial statute since the Arizona state Supreme Court ruled it the law of the land last week. The decision from the state’s high court protects virtually all babies from being aborted, with an exception if the mother’s life is at risk.

Several state Republican representatives want the 1864 statute repealed so the state may return to a previous abortion law protecting babies after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Arizona’s GOP Congressman Juan Ciscomani criticized the law, calling it archaic and disastrous for women and healthcare providers. Former President Donald Trump and Arizona U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake have both spoken out against the protective measure, further emphasizing a pullback from pro-life issues by some in the GOP.

The Center for Arizona Policy, an organization that advocates for pro-life legislation, cheered the state Supreme Court’s ruling resurrecting the law, calling it the appropriate legal conclusion in a statement. The organization said the ruling acknowledges the sanctity of all human life and would spare women the physical and emotional harm caused by abortion. 

How was the repeal stopped this time? The state House tied in a vote on whether to discuss the repeal bill during its Wednesday session. Citizens in the House gallery cheered at the vote’s outcome. The law was enacted before Arizona received statehood or women could legally vote, Democratic Rep. Alma Hernandez said during a discussion before the vote. Legislators should not rush to repeal a law that the legislature has enacted and affirmed several times, House Speaker Ben Toma reasoned.

Democratic Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs blamed “Republican extremists” for the vote’s failure, calling on legislators to “do the right thing” and repeal the law. Legislators first attempted a repeal bill last week, less than a day after the ruling. Toma once again barred discussion by ending the session early, prompting chants of “Shame!” and “Blood on your hands!” from Democratic lawmakers.

Dig deeper: Read Andrew T. Walker’s report on The World And Everything In It podcast about the need for conservatives to rally around the pro-life movement.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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