Arizona Senate passes repeal of 1864 abortion ban, sending it to governor's desk

Once signed, the legislation won't take effect for several months.

ByLibby Cathey, Isabella Murray, and Chris Boccia ABCNews logo
Wednesday, May 1, 2024
Arizona House votes to overturn 1864 abortion ban, paving way to leave 15-week limit in place
The Arizona House of Representatives voted Wednesday to overturn the state's 160-year-old abortion ban

The Arizona Senate on Wednesday voted to repeal a strict, Civil War-era abortion ban that was recently ruled enforceable by the state Supreme Court.

The video is from a related report.

Two Republican senators, T.J. Shope and Shawnna Bolick, joined the 14 Democrats in the minority and the bill passed 16-14, over vocal GOP objection.

Ahead of her vote, Bolick took a broadly anti-abortion position on the floor -- explaining in detail the three difficult pregnancies she had herself, including the story of her own miscarriage -- but she voted with Democrats, suggesting the repeal of the stricter ban might weaken support for a Democratic-led ballot initiative in November to broaden abortion access further.

"Very little legislation written and signed into law is ever perfect. Until we have a better choice in this matter, I side with saving more babies' lives," Bolick said.

But Democrats who have pushed in recent weeks to undo the ban celebrated the successful vote in the Legislature.

Abortion rights supporters gather outside the Capitol, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, in Phoenix.
Abortion rights supporters gather outside the Capitol, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, in Phoenix.
AP Photo/Matt York

"This was a historic and consequential vote .... But I'm more relieved for the people of Arizona who will not have their lives and private medical decisions subjected to this brutal and archaic law," state Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton said in a statement."

The repeal legislation now heads to Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, who said in a statement soon after the vote that she looks "forward to quickly signing the repeal into law."

After being signed by Hobbs, the repeal would then take effect 90 days after the legislative session ends, which must be by June 30.

The governor, in her statement, also called out the pending pro-abortion access ballot measure in November.

"I encourage every Arizonan to make their voices heard," she said.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.