Arizona Democrats Consider 3rd Attempt to Repeal 1864 Abortion Law

Democratic lawmakers in Arizona on Wednesday will try for a third time to repeal an 1864 law outlawing abortion, plunging the Republican-controlled State Legislature back into a divisive election-year battle over abortion rights.

The previous attempts to undo the Civil War-era ban ended in chaotic failure after Republican leaders beat back efforts by Democrats and a handful of members of their own party.

Democrats said that this time they were hunting for new support and looking for other maneuvers to bring their repeal measure to a vote. But it was unclear whether any additional Republican lawmakers were willing to defy their own leaders and powerful anti-abortion groups and force a vote in the House, which is narrowly divided.

“There’s too much time for second-guessing and too many moving parts,” said Representative Stephanie Stahl Hamilton, a Democrat who has introduced a one-sentence measure to repeal the 1864 law. Her bill has yet to get a vote.

The Legislature’s unwillingness to undo the law, which has galvanized activists and which many voters call outdated and extreme, has created a rift within the Republican Party. The measure would not go into effect before June 8, said Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat.

Prominent Republicans, including former President Donald J. Trump, have urged the Legislature to scrap the law, hoping to refocus the political conversation on immigration and inflation. But stalwart abortion opponents who hold sway in Arizona have urged Republican state lawmakers not to overturn the ban. They say it is a good law that protects women and babies.

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