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Arizona’s Abortion Law Battles Intensify as Democrats Push for Repeal

For the third consecutive week, Democrats in the Arizona Legislature are pressing forward with efforts to repeal the state’s stringent near-total abortion ban. 

This persistent push comes at a time when the issue is increasingly becoming a focal point in national political discussions, especially as the presidential election looms.

The Republicans, who currently hold power, have repeatedly used procedural tactics to thwart these repeal attempts. 

Each instance has drawn sharp criticism from President Joe Biden, who has vocally made abortion access a cornerstone of his reelection campaign. 

The ongoing debate in Arizona reflects a broader national conversation, intensified by former President Donald Trump’s policies, which Biden claims have created significant healthcare crises for women across the country.

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Credits: DepositPhotos

Arizona’s Republicans find themselves in a precarious position, balancing the demands of conservative constituents who staunchly support the abortion ban against the broader public opinion of swing voters crucial for upcoming major elections, including the presidency and control of the U.S. Senate.

The state’s near-total abortion ban, originating from a law established in 1864, only allows exceptions to save the life of the pregnant individual. 

The enforcement of this law, carrying penalties of two to five years in prison for those involved in performing abortions, was reaffirmed following the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022. 

This historic law had remained unenforceable for decades until the U.S. Supreme Court decision revoked the federal protection for abortion, prompting Arizona’s then-Attorney General Mark Brnovich to successfully argue for its reactivation.

Efforts to repeal the law have seen some bipartisan support, notably with one Republican breaking ranks last week to attempt bringing the repeal to a vote, though it narrowly failed twice. 

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The ongoing legislative battle suggests that while there is substantial support for repeal among Democrats, obtaining sufficient Republican backing remains challenging.

The legislative drama unfolds as Attorney General Kris Mayes, along with other Democratic leaders and abortion rights advocates, strongly opposes the revival of the old ban. 

Meanwhile, enforcement of the law could begin as soon as this week, following final judgments from the state Supreme Court.

If the repeal is successful, and with Gov. Katie Hobbs’ approval, a more recent 2022 law prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy would supersede the older statute. 

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Credits: DepositPhotos – Indianapolis – Circa March 2019: Planned Parenthood Location. Planned Parenthood Provides Reproductive Health Services in the US III — Photo by jetcityimage2

In response to the restrictive laws, Planned Parenthood has pledged to continue supporting women’s access to abortions, including facilitating travel to states where the procedure remains less restricted.

Amid these legislative skirmishes, both abortion rights supporters and opponents are gearing up for a potential ballot showdown. 

Advocates for abortion rights are mobilizing to propose a constitutional amendment to secure abortion rights up to the point of fetal viability, around 24 weeks. 

In contrast, Republican lawmakers are strategizing over multiple counter-proposals for the November ballot, including potentially misleading measures and stricter bans.

As debates continue, the outcome of these efforts will significantly influence the landscape of reproductive rights in Arizona and potentially set precedents for other states grappling with similar issues.