Arizona's governor signs repeal of near-total abortion ban. But the procedure still may not be available there this summer. Here's why.

Two women sit in the waiting room of an abortion clinic in Phoenix.
An abortion clinic in Phoenix on April 18. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signed a repeal on Thursday of a controversial Civil War-era abortion ban that the state’s Supreme Court ruled could take effect on June 27.

But Hobbs warned that the repeal would not go into effect until 90 days after the end of the Legislature’s current session at the end of June. That rule, Hobbs said, means that before the repeal kicks in, Arizona women may not have the option to obtain an abortion in the state for months, unless their own lives are at risk.

“We still have work to do,” Hobbs said during a signing ceremony on Thursday. “Arizona women are still governed by a ban that leaves no exceptions for rape or incest nor does it account for complications during pregnancy.”

  • April 1, 2022: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill in anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade that banned abortions in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

  • June 24, 2022: The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, leaving the states to decide whether to restrict access to abortion.

  • April 9, 2024: The Arizona Supreme Court issued a ruling reinstating the strict 1864 ban on abortions but delayed its going into effect.

  • April 24, 2024: Arizona’s House voted to repeal the 1864 law.

  • May 1, 2024: Arizona’s Senate voted to repeal the 1864 law.

  • May 2, 2024: Arizona Gov. Hobbs signed the repeal into law.

  • June 27, 2024: The 1864 ban could take effect, according to Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes’s office.

On Tuesday, Mayes asked the Arizona Supreme Court to put on hold its ruling reinstating the 1864 abortion ban. If it refuses to do so, the Civil War-era measure will go into effect on June 27, because the Legislature did not have enough votes to pass an emergency clause that would have allowed the repeal to take effect upon the governor’s signature.

In the meantime, the 2022 law that restricts abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy remains in place.

Planned Parenthood Arizona — one of the plaintiffs in the 1864 ban case heard by the state’s Supreme Court — said it is still providing abortions up to 15 weeks and vowed to do so until the “last possible legal moment.” The group has also asked the Arizona Supreme Court to delay its mandate allowing the resumption of the Civil War-era ban.

Abortion rights advocates note that if the 1864 ban is allowed to take effect again, it could have major impacts for women in the state.

“This gap in access may mean the difference between someone being able to get care in their state or being forced to travel out of state, self-manage, if that’s not their preferred option, or carry an unwanted pregnancy to term,” Candace Gibson, director of state policy at the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion-rights research group, told Yahoo News in a statement.

Ultimately, the future of abortion access in Arizona could be decided by voters. Last month, abortion rights supporters said they had gathered enough signatures to include a ballot measure in the November elections that would amend the state’s constitution so as to guarantee the right of women to obtain an abortion.