Arizona Abortion Law Repeal to Take Effect in Time to Avoid Territorial-Era Law

Stop Abortion Bans Rally
by Cameron Arcand


Arizona has avoided potential abortion law confusion with the conclusion of the legislative session.

Since the session concluded on Saturday night, all normal legislation without an emergency clause signed by Gov. Katie Hobbs will go into effect on Sept. 14. This also includes the May repeal of the abortion law that was created in 1864 and re-codified in 1977 that banned abortion in nearly all circumstances.

On May 2, 2024, H.B 2677 was signed into law, repealing the 1864 near-total abortion ban. This repeal will take effect on Sept. 14, 2024. Enforcement of the 1864-era ban has been stayed by court orders until at least Sept. 27.

“Because the repeal will be effective before September 27, that means the territorial ban will not take effect in Arizona, so long as current court orders remain in place,” Attorney General Kris Mayes’ office told The Center Square. “Accordingly, Arizonans can still obtain, and providers cannot be prosecuted for, providing abortion care in accordance with Title 36.”

The law became relevant after Roe was overturned in 2022, and the state Supreme Court ruled it could be enforceable over a 15-week law currently on the books. The repeal debate created a weeks-long frenzy at the state Capitol that ended with a handful of Republicans joining Democrats to get the legislation to Hobbs’ desk.

Voters could choose to override the 15-week law in support of a constitutional amendment for abortion access up to “fetal viability,” a ballot initiative that opponents worry would permit abortion later than that. There was a looming possibility that Republican lawmakers would attempt their own ballot referral to counteract the effort, but it did not formulate.

“With sine die, our abortion ballot initiative can now move forward confidently, full steam ahead. It’s been a long, long day, but I’ll sleep well tonight,” Chris Love, spokesperson for Arizona for Abortion Access, a group that’s leading the ballot initiative effort, tweeted on Saturday.

The communications director for ballot initiative opponents “It Goes Too Far” said it paints a clear picture for voters.

“Having the law settled in Arizona allows voters to consider all that is at stake when voting on the proposed abortion amendment, Abortion is legal in Arizona up to 15-weeks and beyond for medical emergencies,” Cindy Dahlgren said in a statement to The Center Square. “And we have commonsense safety precautions to protect girls and women from complications such as perforated uterus or bowel, sepsis, infertility, and hemorrhaging. The abortion amendment makes those critical safeguards impossible to enforce.”

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Cameron Arcand is a staff reporter for The Center Square covering Arizona. A contributor since 2022, Arcand previously worked for Salem Media Group and The Western Journal.
Photo “Stop Abortion Bans Rally” by Fibonacci Blue CC BY 2.0.



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