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Gov. Katie Hobbs signs repeal of 1864 abortion ban: What this means for students, community

A day after the Arizona Senate repealed the Civil War-era abortion ban, Hobbs held a signing ceremony for HB 2677


Gov. Katie Hobbs answers questions after signing HB 2677 during a signing ceremony in the Executive Tower at the Arizona State Capitol on Thursday, May 2, 2024 in Phoenix.

A sea of legislators and community advocates donned Planned Parenthood blue on Thursday for Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs' first step in repealing the near-total abortion ban that was passed by the state's Supreme Court on April 9. The legislation was reintroduced from a Civil War-era law that predated Arizona's statehood by 48 years.

The repeal legislation, known as HB 2677, is a one-sentence bill with the sole purpose of reversing Section 13-3603 of the Arizona Revised Statutes which would criminalize anyone who participates in an abortion procedure, whether that be the pregnant person, medical professional or any other involved parties. There were no exceptions for rape, incest or an inviable pregnancy. Under this ban, the only circumstance where a pregnant person could get an abortion is if their life was at risk. 

"Today, we should not rest, but we should recommit to protecting women's bodily autonomy, their ability to make their own health care decisions and the ability to control their lives," Hobbs said. 

HB 2677 passed in the Arizona State Senate by a margin of 16-14 on Wednesday. All Democratic state senators voted in favor of the bill, along with two Republican senators, Thomas Shope of District 16 and Shawnna Bolick of District 2.

Hobbs released a statement on Wednesday following the Senate vote announcing that she was looking forward "to quickly signing the repeal into law."

The ban could have gone into effect as early as June 8, according to Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes. On April 24, the state House of Representatives took the first step toward repealing the ban before it went into effect, passing the repeal by a slim margin to the credit of three Republican representatives that voted against their party majority. 

READ MORE: Arizona House passes bill to repeal 1864 abortion ban, which will now go to the Senate

On Wednesday Planned Parenthood Arizona filed a motion to stay the strict ban until the repeal can go into effect following the governor's signature today. The abortion ban could still take hold in Arizona if the legislature doesn't enact this pause, according to a statement from the organization’s President and CEO Angela Florez. 

"The repeal is not expected to take effect until 90 days after the end of the legislative session — which could be well into the summer," Florez said in a separate statement. "The result is that without further action by the courts, abortion care could stop for several months, and Arizonans will live under a draconian total abortion ban despite efforts to stop its enforcement."

In this statement from PPAZ, Florez explained that Wednesday's repeal does not include an emergency effective clause, which is needed to put the repeal legislation into effect immediately following Hobbs' signature. 

Abortion ban history

The original text of the 1864 ban was derived from "The Howell Code," Arizona's first rule of law from when it was still a territory. The abortion ban originated in chapter ten of the text, which outlines criminal offenses, under section 45. 

The section outlines that any medical professional, pregnant woman or other parties involved in an abortion procedure could face imprisonment for two to five years. There were no exceptions for rape, incest or an inviable pregnancy. The only circumstance that allowed for an abortion through this law is if the pregnant person's life was at risk. 

Abortion access for Arizona students 

The state law that was in place prior to the ban was a 15-week limit on abortions, according to PPAZ's statement. This will likely be back in place if the bill successfully repeals the much stricter ban. 

Abortion providers can be found in some cities in Arizona via AbortionFinder, an online resource that shows where abortions clinics are located state by state. While some facilities abide by the 15-week limit for abortion access, others have shorter timelines. 

AbortionFinder lists four clinics in Phoenix, one in Tempe and three others scattered in Glendale and Tucson. The Phoenix locations do follow the 15-week restriction, however, the Planned Parenthood in Tempe does not provide abortions after 11 weeks, according to AbortionFinder. 

ASU students do not have access to abortion through ASU Health Services, according to their website. They do offer a host of gynecological and contraceptive resources, including PAP smears, breast exams, and Nexplanon or IUD insertion, among other services that are detailed under the "Women's Health" section of their webpage. 

ASU Health appointments can be booked through the patient portal and are accessible to members and affiliates of the University community. 

Statewide protests and next steps for abortion access in Arizona

An eruption of protests took place across Arizona following the implementation of the abortion ban since the April 8 decision. 

"I can't stop thinking about my daughter's future," said Athena Salman, former representative of District 26 and 8.

Salman said that she and her Democratic colleagues will continue to "protect and enshrine" reproductive rights to ensure that the obstacles to abortion care won't exist for future generations. 

Hobbs sees this repeal as a first step in securing abortion care in the state. 

"I will continue to call on the legislature to pass the Arizona Right to Contraception Act and protect IVF from ongoing attacks," Hobbs said in a statement on Wednesday. "And I encourage every Arizonan to make their voices heard this November when abortion rights will be on the ballot."

Arizona for Abortion Access, a coalition under Planned Parenthood, has surpassed the amount of signatures necessary to put abortion access on the ballot in November, well before the collection deadline on July 3. The minimum number of signatures needed is 383,923, according to the organization's webpage.  

READ MORE: Planned Parenthood ASU, YDSA help gather signatures for AZ abortion ballot initiative

Edited by Sophia Braccio, George Headley and Alexis Heichman

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