Arizona Senate Votes to Repeal Draconian 1864 Abortion Ban

Two GOP state senators voted with Democrats to repeal the Civil War-era law

The Arizona state senate voted to repeal a near-total abortion ban revived by the state Supreme Court last month, paving the way to roll back the obscure 1864 law.

The 16-14 vote included two Republican state senators, Senate President Pro Tempore T.J. Shope and Sen. Shawnna Bolick, defecting from the GOP to side with the Democrats in a vote that otherwise fell along party lines. Last week, the Arizona state house voted to repeal the ban 31-29, with two Republican representatives also voting against it, sending it to the state Senate.

After Wednesday’s votes are formally approved, the repeal will go before Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, who is expected to sign it. The ban would have replaced Arizona’s 2022 abortion law, which restricted the procedure to 15 weeks in most cases. 

Once signed, the repeal will take effect 90 days after the end of the Arizona state legislature’s session.

In a statement, Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Arizona) warned against prematurely celebrating the repeal, cautioning that “the fight isn’t over.”

“A repeal of Arizona’s backwards 1864 abortion law is headed to the Governor’s desk, but the fight isn’t over,” Kelly wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Arizona women are still living under an abortion ban and don’t have the freedom to make their own health care decisions. In November, we’re going to change that.”

The abortion ban saga brought the reproductive rights battle to the political forefront of one of the most significant swing states this election cycle. GOP Senate candidate Kari Lake has voiced that she supports the ban and wishes for county sheriffs to enforce it.

The repeal vote comes the same day as the six-week Florida abortion ban goes into effect and the day after Louisiana lawmakers moved to outlaw the abortion pill Mifepristone.