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An Arizona Republican blocked a total abortion ban, betraying the GOP — and her judge husband

Shawnna and Clink Bolick Abortion Vote Arizona
BolickforArizona / Vote Bolick; Wikipedia

Shawnna Bolick’s vote was the deciding factor in overturning a total abortion ban from 1864 — a ban her husband, a state Supreme Court justice, voted in favor of.

An Arizona conservative provided one of just two votes state Democrats needed to overturn a total abortion ban from 1864 — but she didn't only go against her party.

Shawnna Bolick joined her fellow conservative T.J. Shope two weeks ago in voting alongside Senate Democrats in favor of House Bill 2677. The law repealed a complete ban on abortions from 1864, which levied criminal punishments against doctors performing the procedure and did not make exceptions for the health of the mother or pregnant person if their life was not threatened.

After three hours of debate, Bolick spoke of her own difficult pregnancies, one of which was unviable and resulted in her receiving a dilatation and curettage (D&C) — a surgical procedure commonly used in abortions. She said, according to multiple outlets, that she worried the 1864 would result in women not getting the treatment they need.

“Many women don’t have textbook pregnancies,” she said, later concluding, “I am here to protect more babies. I vote aye.”

Bolick's husband, Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick, was one of the judges who voted to uphold the Civil War-era law just weeks earlier. Neither Bolick nor her husband have commented publicly on the matter since.

The couple met in Washington at an event by conservative research institute the Heritage Foundation, according to the Associated Press. They are longtime friends with conservative United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who is a godfather to one of Clint Bolick’s sons.

The repeal was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs the day after the Senate voted. It will go into effect in June or July, within 90 days of the legislative session ending, keeping abortion legal in the state up until 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Bolick and her husband are both facing reelection in Arizona this year, with Bolick's primary scheduled for July 30 in her northern Phoenix district. Arizona is also one of the nine states where voters will decide on constitutional amendments this November that could permanently enshrine access to abortion.

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.