/ Modified apr 17, 2024 2:59 p.m.

Arizona House again refuses to repeal 1864 abortion law but Senate agrees

House Speaker Ben Toma kept the bill from being brought up.

AZ State Capitol bldg HERO The Arizona State Capitol building.
Wars / CC 3.0

The Arizona House and Senate are at odds over whether or not to vote on the repeal of Arizona's Civil War-era near-total ban on abortions.

At the end of Wednesday’s floor session in the Arizona House of Representatives, Rep. Stephanie Stahl-Hamilton (D-Tucson) made a motion to have her bill repealing the state’s Civil War-era ban brought up for a vote.

The parliamentary move to have the bill considered needed 31 votes to pass. According to the rules, one of those votes in the affirmative had to be the Speaker of the House.

House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) voted no and said there is no reason to rush the process.

“It is still being litigated in court. The courts have not even had the opportunity to determine if the pre-Roe law is constitutional,” Toma said.

As voting continued, Rep. Oscar De Los Santos (D-Phoenix), the assistant House Minority Leader, disagreed that the House was moving too quickly.

“Members we have had since 1864 to repeal this abhorrent law and for the past six years Democrats have introduced this bill,” he said.

The procedural move to bring the bill up for a vote failed on a 30-30 tie.

Representative Alma Hernandez (D-Tucson) tried a similar procedural move only to see the same results.

The defeat of the moves was cheered by a packed House gallery filled with anti-abortion activists. It was also immediately condemned in news releases from Governor Katie Hobbs and Attorney General Kris Mayes.

A short time later, a similar move was brought to the floor in the state Senate and passed on a 16-14 vote.

The Senate did not take the bill up but it can now begin the process of moving to the floor for a vote.

The House came back into session briefly after the Senate action and voted to adjourn until Wednesday, April 24.

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