by Tom Joyce


Democrats in the Arizona state legislature have a request for Governor Doug Ducey: to hold a special legislative session to legalize abortion. Ducey’s office says the votes aren’t there.

Thirty-eight Democrats in the Arizona state legislature – led by Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios and House Minority Whip Reginald Bolding Jr, D-Laveen –penned a letter to Governor Ducey this week requesting that the state repeal its 1864 abortion ban that went back into effect last month.

It went into effect after a Pima County Superior Court judge lifted an injunction on the law. It had been void since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade in 1973.

The Democratic legislators said that this law went into effect 48 years before Arizona became a state and used unrelated political issues to argue that these legislators had poor judgment. 

“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,'” the letter reads. “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.”

The lawmakers tell Ducey that he is incorrect to insist abortion is legal up until 15 weeks in Arizona. That’s because the 1864 law was never repealed. 

The lawmakers wrote that they think women should be able to get abortions legally and they will fight to make it happen. 

“Our caucus is unified and ready to work,” the lawmakers wrote. “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.”

A spokesperson for Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said the Democrats’ demand wouldn’t happen due to a lack of support in the Legislature. 

“There would need to be the votes,” CJ Karamargin, spokesman for Governor Ducey’s office, told The Center Square in an email. “We see no evidence of that.”

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Tom Joyce is a contributor to The Center Square.
Background Photo “Arizona Capitol” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.