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Arizona Lawmakers Face Debate Over 1864 Abortion Ban Repeal

As Arizona lawmakers reconvene, they face a contentious debate surrounding the potential repeal of a 160-year-old near-total abortion ban. Expectations are high for robust discussions, but activists, both for and against the repeal, are gearing up to make their voices heard.

Activist Mobilization and Prayer Vigil

Amidst the legislative session, Arizona Right to Life has mobilized its members to greet lawmakers at the Capitol and has organized a prayer vigil scheduled for 8:15 a.m. These efforts signal the intensity of the debate surrounding the abortion ban repeal and reflect the deep-seated convictions on both sides of the issue.

Arizona Lawmakers Face Debate Over 1864 Abortion Ban Repeal
Source: Los Angeles Times

Legislative Agenda and Uncertainty

The legislative agenda for the day includes House members commencing their work session at 10 a.m., with votes scheduled on several unrelated bills. However, all eyes are on whether a repeal measure for the 1864 abortion ban will be proposed and how it will be received. Following a recent state Supreme Court decision reviving the law, the urgency to address the issue has intensified, with national media closely monitoring developments at the Arizona Capitol.

Repeal Efforts and Political Maneuvering

Representative Stephanie Stahl Hamilton introduced House Bill 2677, a “clean repeal” of the 1864 law, earlier this year. Despite facing hurdles in committee hearings, the bill could be brought up for a final vote if sufficient support is garnered. However, uncertainty looms over whether the measure will advance, with the decision resting in the hands of House leadership.

Debate Dynamics and Repeal Prospects

House Speaker Ben Toma’s remarks hint at the unpredictability surrounding a potential repeal vote. Proponents of a repeal, including Representative Matt Gress, anticipate a vote and are strategizing to secure the necessary majority. Republican Representative David Cook has expressed reservations about the severity of the existing law, signaling potential divisions within the party ranks.

Countermeasures and Initiative Response

Republican lawmakers are exploring strategies to counter the Arizona for Abortion Access initiative, which seeks to constitutionalize the right to abortion. While there are no immediate measures on Wednesday’s agenda to address these concerns, initiatives are underway to challenge the proposed ballot drive. Meanwhile, supporters of the initiative are organizing a rally to bolster their campaign.

Arizona Lawmakers Face Debate Over 1864 Abortion Ban Repeal
Source: Oregon Public Broadcasting

In the state Senate, a busy calendar awaits with non-abortion bills queued up for a vote. If a repeal passes in the House, it could swiftly move to the Senate, although procedural hurdles may delay its final disposition. The unfolding legislative session underscores the complexity and significance of the abortion debate in Arizona’s political landscape.

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