Arizona Democrats Spearhead Battle for Abortion Rights

Avery Emberly

Updated Thursday, May 2, 2024 at 11:31 AM CDT

Arizona Democrats Spearhead Battle for Abortion Rights

In a landmark political maneuver, Arizona Democrats are rallying to repeal the state's antiquated 1864 abortion ban, which is currently enforced on a temporary basis. The party is strategically leveraging the contentious issue of abortion to solidify its campaign for reproductive rights, aiming to secure legislative majorities, introduce a ballot measure for reproductive rights into the state constitution, and counteract the influence of former President Donald Trump.

State Senator Anna Hernandez and her Democratic colleagues are pinpointing both Trump and Arizona Republican lawmakers as the architects behind the state's stringent abortion climate. Despite the looming possibility of the 1864 abortion ban being reinstated as early as June 27, Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, has made a commitment not to prosecute anyone involved in performing abortions.

The Arizona Supreme Court’s stance has allowed one of the nation's most severe abortion prohibitions to proceed, offering no exceptions for cases of r*** or i*****. However, a bipartisan group of state senators, including some Republicans facing challenging reelection battles, have cast their votes for the repeal of the long-standing law.

Trump, who played a pivotal role in the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade by nominating three justices, has declared the ruling a triumph but stands against stringent abortion bans. He advocates for leaving abortion law decisions to individual states and does not back any efforts to monitor or penalize women who seek abortions.

Should the near-total abortion ban be invalidated, Arizona would still enforce a 15-week abortion ban passed in 2022. Abortion has surged to the forefront of Arizona's political scene, impacting the Senate race, two House contests, and the battle for control of the state legislature.

Democratic U.S. Representative Ruben Gallego has spotlighted Republican Kari Lake's fluctuating stance on the strict abortion law in his campaign materials. Conversely, State Representative Alexander Kolodin, a Republican, staunchly opposes abortion and has actively resisted efforts to overturn the 1864 law.

According to surveys like the AP VoteCast, a majority of Arizona voters in the 2022 midterm elections backed legal abortion and supported national legislation to ensure access to legal abortions. Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris has criticized Trump for the six-week abortion ban in Florida, which came into effect in April and affects approximately 4 million women.

Florida's Supreme Court approved a six-week abortion ban and a ballot measure concerning abortion until viability for the November election. President Joe Biden and Vice President Harris are emphasizing abortion rights in their re-election campaign, perceiving it as a strategic advantage in competitive states like Florida.

Following the conservative U.S. Supreme Court's reversal of Roe vs. Wade in 2022, states like Florida have been at liberty to establish their own abortion statutes. Harris has been rallying for reproductive freedoms across more than 20 states, predicting that harsh abortion restrictions will galvanize voters in Biden's favor.

Abortion access in the southern U.S. has been dramatically reduced, with Florida previously serving as a haven for those seeking abortions from neighboring states like Alabama and Georgia, until the state's ban in April. In 2023, Florida saw a significant influx of out-of-state residents seeking abortions, with around 7,700 of the 84,000 abortions performed for non-residents, marking a nearly 60% increase from two years prior.

Approximately half of Florida's 50 abortion clinics are independently operated, standing apart from larger organizations such as Planned Parenthood. Trump has distanced himself from Arizona's abortion ruling, reiterating that abortion should be a state matter and taking credit for the Supreme Court justices who contributed to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Biden has pledged to combat state-level anti-abortion measures and has openly criticized Trump's position on abortion, as Florida cements its status as a Republican stronghold. In a surprising development, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., running as an independent candidate for president, has proposed a "no spoiler" pledge to Biden to decide who should withdraw from the 2024 presidential race based on a nationwide poll.

Kennedy, who switched from a Democratic to an independent candidacy, insists he can defeat Trump, citing an internal poll with over 26,000 respondents. The "no spoiler" pledge entails co-funding a 50-state poll with at least 30,000 likely voters in October 2024, with the weaker candidate against Trump agreeing to exit the race.

Kennedy made his pledge announcement in Brooklyn without taking questions and has indicated his willingness to extend the same offer to Trump. However, the Biden campaign has yet to respond to Kennedy's proposal, and DNC spokesperson Matt Corridoni has dismissed Kennedy as a spoiler supported by the MAGA GOP and Trump's largest donor.

Kennedy launched his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in April of the previous year and pivoted to an independent run in October at 70 years old. The Biden campaign and the DNC, along with figures like Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Austin Davis, have denounced Kennedy as a potential disruptor in the presidential election.

Political analysts and pollsters speculate that Kennedy could also pose a challenge to Trump, given his appearances on conservative media and characterization by Trump's campaign as far-left. Trump has labeled Kennedy a "Democrat ‘Plant’" and "far more LIBERAL than anyone running as a Democrat" on his Truth Social site.

Kennedy is determined to secure ballot access in all 50 states, an ambitious goal for independent candidates. He is confirmed to be on the ballot in California, Utah, Hawaii, and Michigan through various third-party affiliations. Kennedy's campaign claims to have gathered sufficient signatures for ballot access in North Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, Nebraska, and Iowa, signaling a potentially influential presence in the upcoming election.

Conservative Bias:

Once again, the Democrats are shamelessly exploiting the abortion issue to push their radical agenda, disregarding the sanctity of life and the will of the people. In Arizona, they're trying to overturn a law that has stood for over a century and a half, all to pander to their extreme base and secure political power. They're using scare tactics about a law that protects the unborn to rally their troops and try to take over the state legislature. They're ignoring the fact that the majority of Americans favor some restrictions on abortion, instead of pushing for an anything-goes policy. And let's not forget, they're attacking President Trump for his monumental achievement of reshaping the Supreme Court, which finally gave states back their rights to decide on this critical issue. Democrats are determined to impose their will on the people, even if it means t****ling on states' rights and the lives of the most vulnerable among us.

Liberal Bias:

The Republicans are at it again, t****ling on women's rights and using the issue of abortion as a political football. In Arizona, they cling to an archaic, draconian law from 1864 to control women's bodies and deny them the basic right to make decisions about their own health care. They're fighting tooth and nail to preserve a near-total abortion ban, showing their true colors as extremists who have no regard for the difficult and personal choices women face. And let's not forget their hypocrisy – Trump, who loaded the Supreme Court with justices who overturned Roe v. Wade, now claims he's against extreme abortion bans, yet he paved the way for this regressive era. Democrats are courageously standing up to this assault on reproductive rights, vowing not to prosecute those who seek or provide abortions and fighting for legislation that reflects the will of the majority of Arizonans who support abortion access. The GOP's war on women is a clear sign of their disconnect from reality and their disdain for the rights and freedoms of half the population.

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