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The Arizona governor signed the repeal of an abortion law following a political battle led by female lawmakers

Katie Hobbs smiles after signing the repeal (Sam David/Getty Images)

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs signed the repeal of a nearly two-century-old ban on almost all abortions, marking a significant moment for women who campaigned to leave the outdated law behind.

On Thursday afternoon, current and former state lawmakers and advocates for reproductive rights gathered in the rotunda outside Hobbs’ office to witness the signing. There were hugs, selfies, and tears among the attendees.

Democratic Representative Stephanie Stahl Hamilton spoke during the ceremony, describing it as a historic occasion to move away from laws that no longer fit today’s society.

Stahl and Democratic Senator Anna Hernandez were selected to speak for their efforts in ensuring the repeal of the long-dormant law, which only permitted abortions to save a patient’s life.

The repeal received final approval in the Senate with a narrow 16-14 vote, where two Republican lawmakers sided with Democrats during a three-hour session marked by personal, emotional, and religious arguments.

State Senator plays the audio (Jason Markle/Shutterstock)

The debate included detailed descriptions of abortion procedures and audio recordings of fetal heartbeats.

During the Senate debate, abortion opponents in the gallery criticized Republican Senator Shawnna Bolick after she explained her vote in favor of repeal. She was reprimanded by her GOP colleagues. Bolick is married to Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick, who voted earlier to reinstate the 1864 law and faces a retention election in November.

Earlier, the House had passed the repeal with support from three Republicans who broke ranks.

Governor Hobbs emphasized that this action is just the beginning of efforts to safeguard reproductive health care in Arizona. The repeal is expected to take effect 90 days after the legislative session concludes, typically in June or July following approval of the budget.

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