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  • Writer's pictureArizona House Democrats

Call for Special Session to Repeal Territorial Abortion Ban

Governor Ducey,

Legislative Democrats respectfully request that you convene a legislative special session to repeal A.R.S. § 13-3603 -- the 1864 total ban on abortion that creates mandatory imprisonment for doctors and any person providing abortion care.

With the recent decision of a Pima County Superior Court judge, Arizona has been cast back in time to the Civil War era by lifting an injunction on a dangerous and draconian ban on abortion passed by the Territorial legislature 48 years before we became a state.

That same 27-man legislature also set the age of consent for sexual intercourse at 10, and decreed that “No black or mulatto, or Indian, Mongolian, or Asiatic, shall be permitted to give evidence in favor of or against any white person.”

Is this who you think we are as a state? Is this the legacy you want to leave? Without action or leadership, it undoubtedly will be the case.

There is a broad legal consensus that you are incorrect in your repeated claim that the 15-week abortion ban passed in 2022 is the law of the land. The lawmakers in the Republican majority that passed that, and numerous previous restrictions, were careful to keep the Civil War-era ban in place and enforceable. Prosecutors throughout our state intend to enforce the 1864 ban.

Everyone should be able to get safe care from a licensed provider. Yet, with lawyers and politicians now in charge of deeply personal medical decisions, lives are at stake. We can protect Arizonans now by repealing this law today. You must stop bending to the will of extremists who, according to the latest polling, are out of step with the views of 90 percent of our state.

Our caucus is unified and ready to work. You and your fellow Republicans in the majority have the opportunity to join us to right a serious and dangerous wrong if you choose to lead.


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