PHOENIX (NEWSnet/AP) — Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signed on Thursday a repeal of the state's Civil War-era ban on most abortions.

Hobbs says the repeal is just the beginning of a fight to protect reproductive health care in Arizona. But the repeal may not take effect until 90 days after the end of the legislative session, in June or July. 

The effort to repeal the long-dormant law won final legislative approval Wednesday in a 16-14 vote of the Senate, as two GOP lawmakers joined with Democrats.

Democratic Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, an opponent of the near-total abortion ban, has said the earliest the dormant abortion-ban law could be enforced is June 27, though she has asked the state’s highest court to block enforcement until sometime in late July. 

The near-total ban, which predates Arizona’s statehood, permits abortions only to save the patient’s life and provides no exceptions for survivors of rape or incest.

In a ruling last month, the Arizona Supreme Court suggested doctors could be prosecuted under the law first approved in 1864, which carries a sentence of two to five years in prison for anyone who assists in an abortion.

A repeal means that a 2022 statute banning the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy would become Arizona’s prevailing abortion law.

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