Protesters outside the courthouse in Tucson, Arizona on April 9, 2024
Image: Reuters

A 160-year-old anti-abortion law from Arizona reveals how far Republicans have lost their way in the dispute over abortion. Suddenly even Donald Trump seems moderate.

SRarely has the Republicans' lurching course on the issue of abortion been as evident as this week. On Monday, Donald Trump dodged the big questions when he said it was right that the decision now rested with the states. On Tuesday, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the state must abide by an 1864 law that bans abortions, including in cases of incest and rape, and punishes doctors with up to five years in prison. On Wednesday, Trump said Arizona had gone too far and that they would fix it. But in the state itself, Republican lawmakers blocked the attempt to repeal the abortion ban on the same day.

Sofia Dreisbach

North American political correspondent based in Washington.

It is a law from the time before the light bulb and women's suffrage that reveals how much the Republican Party has lost its way when it comes to abortion. Its supreme leader and designated presidential candidate wanted to issue a “hands off” premise after months of silence. But in one of the crucial swing states, of all places, the Republicans pushed the issue mercilessly. Trump, the moderate? That alone shows how much there is to lose when it comes to abortion rights.