Arizona Governor Signs Repeal Of 1864 Near-Total Abortion Ban

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signed a bill to repeal the state’s near-total ban on abortion on Thursday, weeks after the state Supreme Court ruled that the 1864 statute could go into effect.

Hobbs held the signing ceremony a day after the state Senate approved the measure to repeal the abortion ban by a close 16-14 margin, with the support of two Republicans.

“I’ve heard from doctors who were unsure if they would wind up in a jail cell for simply doing their job, women who told me they didn’t know if it was safe to start a family here in Arizona,” Hobbs said Thursday. “These excruciating conversations are exactly why I have made one thing clear, very clear: This ban needs to be repealed.”

But even with Hobbs’ signature, the ban will remain in place for some time. It’s slated to take effect June 27, but the repeal Hobbs signed will not override it until 90 days after the end of the current legislative session. That end date is not predetermined, but last year’s session continued through August.

Following news of Hobbs’ signature, President Joe Biden’s campaign slammed Donald Trump for his role in overturning Roe v. Wade — and paving the way for the Arizona ban — by appointing conservative U.S. Supreme Court nominees. The campaign also lamented that the 150-year-old law will be in effect for even a short time.

“Thanks to Donald Trump, Arizonans continue to live under an extreme abortion ban, even after Democrats repealed his ban from 1864—and we won’t forget who’s responsible,” Jen Cox, a Biden campaign official in Arizona, said in a statement. “Earlier this week, Donald Trump made it clear he’s totally fine with states monitoring women’s pregnancies and prosecuting women and their doctors. I can tell you this: Women in Arizona are not okay with that and will reject Donald Trump and his allies once again.”

Hobbs emphasized at Wednesday’s signing ceremony that the fight to protect abortion access is not over.

“Today, we should not rest,” she said. “We should recommit to protecting women’s bodily autonomy, their ability to make their own health care decisions and the ability to control their lives.”

Organizers behind a ballot measure enshrining abortion protections in Arizona’s constitution said last month they’d collected enough signatures for the measure to appear on the November ballot. Their signatures await verification from the Arizona secretary of state’s office.

For now, abortion rights advocates are celebrating a big win with this week’s legislative action.

“We are so proud of Governor Hobbs, and our reproductive freedom champions in the legislature for fighting hard and fast to repeal this archaic and cruel abortion ban,” Reproductive Freedom for All President and CEO Mini Timmaraju said in a statement. “This is what happens when we elect reproductive freedom champions up and down the ballot; they protect our fundamental rights and freedoms.”