Arizona’s Democratic governor on Thursday upheld the repeal of an 1864 law that banned abortion in almost all cases and was ruled “enforceable” last month by the state’s Southwestern US Supreme Court.

“The abortion ban of 1864 was decided by 27 men, before women even had the right to vote,” Katie Hobbs said yesterday, “nearly 160 years later,” via X, before signing the text of the repeal, which was narrowly approved yesterday Wednesday by the Arizona Senate (16 votes in favor, 14 against).

The law prohibited almost any termination of pregnancy from the moment of conception, with the sole exception of cases where the life of the expectant mother was in danger.

The issue of abortion has become a central campaign issue in the country ahead of the November 5 showdown between Republican former President Donald Trump and Democratic incumbent Joe Biden. Arizona is among the states that may decide the outcome of the match.

The 1864 law did not provide for exceptions either for cases where the pregnancy was due to rape, or for those due to incest.

Dormant for decades, the text was “now enforceable,” the Arizona Supreme Court ruled on April 9.

The fact that this law was declared enforceable reignited the controversy over the issue in the US, condemned in high tones by President Joe Biden, while it was also criticized, more modestly, by his Republican counterpart, Donald Trump.

The ruling followed a decision by the US federal Supreme Court in June 2022 that struck down the constitutional guarantee of the right to abortion and left discretionary legislation on the issue to states.

Since then, about twenty states have outlawed or severely restricted abortion.

A citizens’ initiative to gather signatures to request a referendum to enshrine the right to abortion in the Arizona Constitution has announced that it has secured the required number. This public consultation is therefore expected to be held at the same time as the November 5 election.

Democratic incumbent Biden has made championing women’s rights a major focus of his campaign to secure a second term in November, when he will face Republican predecessor Donald Trump again.

The latter brags that he succeeded, with his appointments to the federal Supreme Court, in the repeal of the constitutional protection of abortion in June 2022, but he would prefer not to suffer the electoral consequences that would probably entail the adoption of an overly conservative position on the issue.