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Arizona Republicans Stand Firm, Keep 1864 Abortion Ban in Place, Handing Pro-Choice Democrats Big Loss

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A Democratic tactic to force a vote repealing an 1864 abortion ban in Arizona went down to defeat Wednesday.

The law — dating back to the days Arizona was a territory — became more than a historical curiosity recently when the Arizona supreme court ruled that it was now valid, because it was in effect when the Roe v. Wade decision took place in 1973, which in turn was thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court, according to Axios.

A 2022 Arizona law bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which created a conflict with the 1864 law.

Democrats have vowed to wipe away the 1864 near-total ban on abortion and on Wednesday tried to use procedural maneuvers to force a vote to do so, according to the U.K.’s Guardian.

Although Republican state Rep. Matt Gress joined the Democrats, that only made the vote 30-30, when a majority was needed.

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Republican House Speaker Ben Toma opposed the vote, according to NBC.

“The last thing we should be doing today is rushing a bill through the legislative process to repeal a law that has been enacted and reaffirmed by the Legislature several times,” Toma said.

As reported by Axios, the 1864 law was incorporated into Arizona state law in 1913, the year after statehood, and again in 1977, even though at that time it could not be enforced, due to the Roe v. Wade ruling.

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“And I would ask everyone in this chamber to respect the fact that some of us believe that abortion is, in fact, the murder of children,” he said.

Toma also chided lawmakers against verbal attacks on pro-life supporters as had been done before, according to the Arizona Republic.

“It is not OK to shout at each other, it is not OK to engage in the kind of behavior I saw on this floor last week,” he said.

With protesters on both sides of the abortion issue out in force, pro-life advocates encouraged Republicans to support unborn children.

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“I’m going to support life and I think that’s what elected officials that say they’re pro-life need to do also, not just put their finger in the air and see which way the wind is blowing,” Bob Pamplin of Mesa said.

Micah Killough, 41, of Mesa, said he showed up to counteract pressure on Republican legislators to repeal the 1864 ban in the name of political expediency.

“That’s my concern,” Killough said.

He said he worried that legislators were “going to bend to what they perceive to be public opinion, as opposed to standing on principle. We want them to know that they have constituents that stand with them and do support the right to life, and support protecting children.”

Regardless of what action the legislature takes, abortion will be a major issue on the ballot, as pro-abortion activists gather signatures for a ballot proposition that would claim a right to abortion exists in Arizona.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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