ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signs bill to repeal near-total abortion ban

May 2, 2024, 1:19 PM | Updated: 2:49 pm

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs officially abolished a Civil War-era abortion ban after signing a new bill into law on Thursday afternoon.

“Today we are doing what 23 governors and 55 legislatures refused to do, and I am so proud to be the ones who got this job done,” Hobbs said.

Hobbs’ signing of House Bill 2677 follows a tumultuous 22 days of legal battles in the Arizona State Legislature.

The 15-week pregnancy law is currently in effect as Arizona’s prevailing law.

Despite the repeal of the ban, abortion rights activists in Arizona still face challenges. The bill won’t become effective until 90 days after the legislative session concludes, potentially leading to a period during which almost all abortions could be prohibited in the state.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes said that near-total ban can’t be enforced before June 26, though. She has vowed to explore “every option available” to prevent the 160-year-old law from taking effect.

Long fight preceded repeal of Civil War-era abortion ban

The battle began after the state Supreme Court set the clock back to an 1864 abortion ban on April 9.

The law, which dated back to before Arizona became a state, made it illegal to perform an abortion except when necessary to save the mother’s life. There were no exceptions for survivors of rape or incest. It carried a sentence of 2-5 years in prison for doctors or anyone else who assists in an abortion.

After the ruling, Democrats pushed forward House Bill 2677, but it took bipartisan support to finally bring it to Hobbs’ desk.

The House passed it with votes from three Republicans last week. After that, the Senate passed it with two votes from Republicans on Wednesday.

Gov. Hobbs expressed happiness over repealing the 1864 abortion ban during her signing ceremony on Thursday.

“Today, we should not rest, but we should recommit to protecting women’s bodily autonomy,” Hobbs said. “Thank you to every Arizonan who spoke up and made their voice heard, calling for a repeal of this draconian ban.”

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Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signs bill to repeal near-total abortion ban