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An Arizona judge helped revive an 1864 abortion law. His lawmaker wife joined Democrats to repeal it

When it was Shawnna Bolick’s turn to speak, the words tumbled out of her for 20 minutes. The conservative lawmaker was in the middle of a heated debate in the Republican-led Arizona Senate on a bill to repeal an 1864 law banning nearly all abortions.

Democrats needed at least one more vote from the right to advance the bill.

Bolick, head hung low and tripping over her words, described her three difficult pregnancies, including one that ended in miscarriage. She said she wouldn’t have got through it “without the moral support of my husband.”

Her husband, Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick, was part of the majority that voted in April to restore the near-total ban.

Observers in the gallery jeered as the senator declared herself “pro-life.” Only in the final moments of her speech did her intention become clear.

“I am here to protect more babies,” she said. “I vote aye.”

The bill passed and a day later, May 2, Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs signed it into law.

Shawnna Bolick’s vote to repeal the near-total ban her spouse helped reinstate underscores the increasingly chaotic philosophical and legal landscape surrounding abortion access in Arizona, and it reflects national Republicans’ struggle to navigate the politics of abortion during a presidential election year.

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