Members of Arizona for Abortion Access

Members of Arizona for Abortion Access, the ballot initiative to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution, hold a press conference and protest in Phoenix on April 17, 2024.

(Photo: Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

'One Step Closer': Arizona House Votes to Repeal 1864 Abortion Ban

"With a total ban still set to take effect June 8, the Arizona Abortion Access Act is needed now more than ever," one state campaigner said of a November ballot measure.

Three Republicans in the Arizona House of Representatives on Wednesday joined with Democrats to advance legislation that would repeal an 1864 ban on abortion—a development rights advocates welcomed while stressing that the fight is far from over.

The 32-28 vote on House Bill 2677—with GOP Reps. Tim Dunn (25), Matt Gress (4), and Justin Wilmeth (2) voting in favor—was the third attempt in as many weeks to pass repeal legislation since the Arizona Supreme Court upheld the ban.

"The state Senate could vote on the repeal as early as next Wednesday, after the bill comes on the floor for a 'third reading,' as is required under chamber rules," according toNBC News. Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs on Wednesday toldThe Washington Post that "I am hopeful the Senate does the right thing and sends it to my desk so I can sign it."

Applauding the House passage of H.B. 2677, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona president and CEO Angela Florez said that "today, Arizona is one step closer to repealing the state's Civil War-era total abortion ban. While the repeal still must pass the Senate, this is a major win for reproductive freedom."

"We must celebrate today's vote in support of abortion rights and harness our enthusiasm to spread the word and urge lawmakers in the Senate to support this necessary repeal bill," she continued. "Despite this step forward, Arizonans cannot stop fighting."

Florez noted that "even with the repeal of the Civil War-era ban, the state will still have a ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy that denies people access to critical care. And lawmakers continue to attack Arizonans' ability to access reproductive healthcare. Our right to control our bodies and lives is hanging on by a thread."

"Thankfully, voters will have the opportunity to take back control if the Arizona Abortion Access Act is on the ballot this November," she added. "Abortion bans are out-of-step with the will of Arizonans and will force pregnant people to leave their communities for essential healthcare. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona will continue fighting to ensure everyone has the right to make decisions about their health and futures."

The Arizona Abortion Access Act is a proposed state constitutional amendment that would prevent many limits on abortions before fetal viability and safeguard access to care after viability to protect the life or physical or mental health of the patient.

The coalition supporting the amendment, Arizona for Abortion Access, highlighted on social media that the House-approved bill "did not include the emergency clause required to stop the 1864 ban from taking effect on June 8," meaning H.B. 2677 wouldn't apply until 90 days after the end of the legislative session.

Coalition campaign manager Cheryl Bruce said that "with a total ban still set to take effect June 8, the Arizona Abortion Access Act is needed now more than ever. We remain committed to taking these decisions out of the hands of extremist politicians."

Arizona is one of multiple states where rights advocates are promoting abortion rights ballot measures this cycle. Reproductive freedom is also dominating political races at all levels, including the presidential contest. Democratic President Joe Biden is set to face former Republican President Donald Trump in November.

"Donald Trump is responsible for Arizona's abortion ban. Women in the state are still living under a ban with no exceptions for rape or incest and have been stripped of the freedom to make their own healthcare decisions," said Julie Chávez Rodriguez, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris' reelection campaign manager.

While the presumptive GOP nominee has tried to distance himself from the Arizona Supreme Court's reinstatement of a 160-year-old abortion ban, he has also campaigned on his three appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court who helped reverse Roe v. Wade.

"Trump brags that he is 'proudly' the person responsible for these bans and if he retakes power, the chaos and cruelty he has created will only get worse in all 50 states," Chávez Rodriguez said. "President Biden and Vice President Harris are the only candidates who will stop him."

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