Democrats Fear Losing Momentum with Repeal of Arizona Abortion Ban

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( – Abortion advocates have been able to celebrate a victory in Arizona as Democrats and a small number of Republicans voted on May 1st to repeal Arizona’s strict anti-abortion law first enacted in 1864.

The law forbade abortions of any kind with the exception of abortion when continuing the pregnancy would endanger the life of the mother. Both Arizona’s House and Senate have now voted to repeal the act, leaving in its place a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of gestation.

The move to repeal one of the strictest abortion bans in the country came after the state’s Supreme Court made a ruling in April to uphold the ban, resulting in a pushback among many Arizonans. After achieving such a victory, some analysts say that the Democrats may now be concerned that they have lost the interest of voters who otherwise would have been keen to keep Republicans out of office in November 2024 due to their more anti-abortion policies.

Democrats have also found that they cannot rely on Republicans to oppose all instances of abortion, with Sen. Shawnna Bolik voting in favor of repealing the 1864 ban and using her own experience of having aborted a non-viable pregnancy to explain her refusal to support such a stringent ban. Polling shows that more than half of Americans support legal abortions up to 15 weeks of gestation, a position for which some Republican candidates and lawmakers have also indicated support, including presidential candidate Donald Trump. Trump had previously suggested a 15-week limit could act as a suitable compromise between pro- and anti-abortion positions, although more recently, he has stated that the decision should be left to each state.

In Arizona, the process for repealing the 1864 law is underway, although it confusingly is not likely to take effect until August, while the Supreme Court’s decision to enforce the 1864 ban could take effect as early as June. Arizona Democrat Rep. Ruben Gallego has promised to continue campaigning during this time and until the November elections on the issue of abortion and will try to deter voters from electing Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake, whose position on abortion he says is “dangerous.” Lake previously supported the 1864 ban but recently lobbied for its repeal.

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