Arizona Republicans Mock Protesters After Killing Abortion Ban Repeal

Arizona Republicans Mock Protesters After Killing Abortion Ban Repeal

Arizona House Rep. David Livingston celebrating defeat of abortion ban repeal on April 17, 2024

Video screenshot via REUTERS

Republicans in the Arizona legislature weren't afraid to do an endzone dance after voting to keep a Civil War-era law on the books that effectively bans all abortions in the Grand Canyon State.

According to Talking Points Memo reporter Kate Riga, Rep. David Livingston (R) "applauded his supporters" in the gallery overlooking the House of Representatives and raised his fists in a celebratory fashion after the vote to repeal the law failed on party lines. House Majority Whip Teresa Martinez (R) reportedly mouthed the words "we got you" to others in the gallery who were advocating for repeal, and even gave them a mocking thumbs-up gesture.

"They were posing for their far-right base," Assistant House Minority Leader Oscar De Los Santos (D) told Talking Points Memo.

Wednesday marked Democrats' fourth unsuccessful attempt in two weeks to repeal the law, which was passed when Arizona was still a territory that had not yet officially joined the U.S. and before women had the right to vote. The state already had a strict 15-week abortion ban in place before the Arizona Supreme Court recently ruled to uphold the far more stringent law from 1864.

"In light of this Opinion, physicians are now on notice that all abortions, except those necessary to save a woman’s life, are illegal, and that additional criminal and regulatory sanctions may apply to abortions performed after fifteen weeks’ gestation," Justice John Lopez wrote on behalf of the GOP-aligned majority.

The 1864 law, which remains on the books, allows for the punishment of abortion providers who help individuals terminate their pregnancies. Any provider who performs the procedure faces a prison sentence of anywhere from two to five years under the 19th century legislation. Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) clarified her office would not prosecute abortion providers under that law.

"Make no mistake, by effectively striking down a law passed this century and replacing it with one from 160 years ago, the Court has risked the health and lives of Arizonans," Mayes stated, adding that the "decision to reimpose a law from a time when Arizona wasn't a state, the Civil War was raging, and women couldn't even vote will go down in history as a stain on our state."

That 1864 law is likely to mobilize large amounts of Democratic voters to turn out in the 2024 election in the Grand Canyon State, which may end up deciding partisan control of the House, Senate and White House in November. Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake — who ran a failed campaign for governor in 2022 — previously praised the anti-abortion law as "great," before eventually condemning it as "out of step with Arizonans." She has called on Governor Katie Hobbs (D) and the GOP-controlled legislature to pass a work-around.

If Republicans aim to recapture the U.S. Senate, they'll need a net gain of two seats in November. This will require flipping seats like Arizona's, where outgoing Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) declined to seek another term in office. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), the likely Democratic nominee, is currently leading in polls with RealClearPolitics showing him ahead of Lake by an average of six points.

Arizona narrowly went blue in 2020, with President Joe Biden taking the state's Electoral College votes with less than 11,000 total votes. That margin could widen with abortion rights on the ballot, as that issue has led to stunning Republican losses even in red states like Kansas, Kentucky and Montana in 2022, and Ohio in 2023.

Click here to read Talking Points Memo's full report.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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