Updated Apr 24, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Arizona House votes to repeal abortion ban

arizona for abortion access protestors

Members of Arizona for Abortion Access gathered on April 17. Photo: Rebecca Noble/Getty Images

After two weeks of stalemate, the Arizona House of Representatives voted to repeal an 1864 ban on nearly all abortions that had been reinstated by the state Supreme Court.

The big picture: Thanks to a handful of Republicans, both legislative chambers now have the votes to repeal the pre-Roe ban.

  • The move, which Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs has supported, would reinstate a 2022 law permitting abortions through 15 weeks of pregnancy to the books.

What's next: The Senate can take a final vote on the repeal next Wednesday.

Driving the news: Republican state Reps. Tim Dunn of Yuma and Justin Wilmeth of Phoenix joined Rep. Matt Gress of Phoenix to give repeal supporters a 32-28 margin in the House on Wednesday.

Reality check: Even if Hobbs signs a repeal bill, the ban still may temporarily take effect this summer.

  • The repeal wouldn't go into effect until 90 days after the legislative session ends, and the session has no end date (though lawmakers must pass a budget by June 30).

Yes, but: Attorney General Kris Mayes Tuesday filed a motion to ask the Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling.

  • That could delay the ban's enforcement date, which is currently expected as soon as June 8.

What they're saying: "I think we've had plenty of time for conversation on this bill. I think the people of Arizona are waiting for us to get this done," Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton (D-Tucson), who sponsored the repeal bill, said on the House floor.

The other side: Rep. Jacqueline Parker (R-Mesa) called abortion barbaric and "akin to slavery" as she cast her vote against the repeal.

  • "It's unfortunate today that a few Republicans are abandoning this cause," she said.

Zoom in: Though Hobbs and Mayes have vowed that the ban won't be enforced, providers tell Axios they won't perform illegal abortions.

  • California officials, however, are working to pass emergency legislation to make it possible for Arizona doctors to continue to provide care to Arizonans in California.

The intrigue: After the House approved the bill, Gress angered his Republican colleagues with a procedural motion to send the bill to the Senate immediately, which would skirt Republican attempts to delay its progress.

  • The motion failed and Toma retaliated by removing Gress from the House appropriations committee.
  • Assistant minority leader Rep. Oscar De Los Santos (D-Laveen Village), who seconded the motion, also lost committee assignments.

What we're watching: House Republicans are considering up to three November 2024 ballot referrals to compete with an existing citizen initiative that would enshrine abortion rights in the Arizona Constitution.

  • The House rules committee Wednesday voted to give GOP lawmakers permission to introduce as many as three resolutions to do so.
  • Committee chair Rep. Travis Grantham (R-Gilbert) emphasized that it was a procedural move, noting "it may not even happen."
  • If they do move forward, Grantham said, the resolutions will go through the legislative process, including committee hearings with public input.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.

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