Fearing Blowback, A Couple Arizona Senate Republicans Join Democrats To Repeal 1864 Abortion Ban

TEMPE, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 28: Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)
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A couple Arizona Senate Republicans crossed over Wednesday to help Democrats repeal the state’s 1864 ban as national Republicans hope to avert electoral punishment.

The senators, T.J. Shope (R) and Shawnna Bolick (R), had announced their intention to vote for repeal ahead of time. Bolick is married to Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick — part of the majority in upholding the 1864 ban. Bolick detailed her own pregnancy complications and abortion while explaining her vote.

Irate Republicans slowed down the process Wednesday, complaining about the bill’s path to the floor and requesting multiple roll call votes. “We’re getting rolled,” complained Sen. Jake Hoffman (R), recently indicted for his role in the 2020 fake elector scheme.

The Arizona House of Representatives voted to repeal the ban last week after a couple false starts. The Speaker retaliated by stripping a couple of lawmakers who voted for repeal of their committee assignments. 

The ban may still go live, at least temporarily; the repeal won’t go into effect until 90 days after the legislative session ends (a date still in limbo while the legislature hammers out budgetary legislation). The ban is set to go into effect on June 27, per Attorney General Kris Mayes (D). Mayes is trying to push that date back even further, asking the state Supreme Court for a 90-day stay in a motion filed Tuesday.

In a sign of how dangerous the 1864 ban was to Republicans’ political future, everyone from Donald Trump to Republican Senate frontrunner Kari Lake (temporarily) called on the legislature to soften the legislation. Lake, who previously cheered the ban, backtracked immediately following its passage, though has gravitated back to her more natural anti-abortion stance in the days since. 

Meanwhile, Democrats are quietly trying to recalibrate, to ensure that the dissipation of the most potent abortion threat in the state doesn’t deprive them of an electoral stick to juice turnout particularly for the presidential and Senate races. 

“Regardless of how tomorrow’s vote goes in the Senate, Arizonians will continue living under an extreme abortion ban, and the ban in effect now would remain in effect if the 1864 ban is successfully overturned,” Dr. Cadey Harrel said in a Tuesday press call for the Biden campaign. “A ban is a ban.” 

Arizona already had a 15-week gestational ban before the state Supreme Court upheld the 1864 one. 

Organizers are working to get a ballot initiative before voters this fall, which would guarantee abortion protections in Arizona’s constitution. Republican lawmakers are considering sticking on one of their own measures to confuse voters and dilute the vote, potentially disguised as an abortion protection measure. 

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