Arizona Republican considers banning abortion pills over lack of oversight

Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has said she supports shutting down abortion clinics and banning abortion pills.

Lake made the comments in response to questions from Fox News’ Bret Baier during an interview on Monday, three days after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling that overturns the nearly 50-year-old ruling by Roe vs. Wade which protected a pregnant woman’s right to abortion.

The ruling reversed the 1973 ruling that protected women who seek abortions “without undue restrictive government interference,” guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. The case at the heart of the decision was Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Medical abortions could be a loophole in states seeking to restrict access, and the Biden administration has pledged to maintain access to Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved pills. However, it is unclear to what extent the White House can intervene to ensure access and, if elected governor, Lake does not consider it safe for Arizona residents.

Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake told Fox News on Monday that abortion clinics should close and abortion pills should be banned due to lack of medical oversight. Above, Lake speaks at the Rally to Protect Our Elections conference on July 24, 2021 in Phoenix.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Lake told Baier she would “fully support” a ban on abortion pills in the state.

“I think it’s really scary that a scared young mother could be home taking a pill without medical supervision,” Lake said. “It could also be the end of the mother.”

While Lake expressed concern that women are having abortions without medical supervision, she supported closing all abortion clinics. Lake told Baier that if elected governor, she would let the legislature pass laws “to protect unborn children.” She noted that if abortion is illegal, it will be “very difficult for abortion clinics to survive and be open.”

The recent Supreme Court ruling has left Arizona abortion law up in the air because there are two laws on the books and few can agree on which supersedes the other. In March, Republican Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed Senate Bill 1164 to prohibit a physician from performing an abortion beyond 15 weeks gestation, except in medical emergencies.

While women cannot be prosecuted for having an abortion after 15 weeks under the law, doctors can face felony charges and possibly have their medical license suspended or revoked.

“In Arizona, we know there is immeasurable value in every life, including prenatal life,” Ducey said in a statement after the bill was signed. “I believe it is the responsibility of every state to protect them.”

However, a 1901 law that has never been repealed makes abortion punishable by five years in prison. Arizona Senate Republicans said the state would revert to that pre-Roe law, providing abortion exceptions only for mothers at risk, with providers potentially facing two to five years in prison for violating it. the law. Other officials, however, said the 15-week ban would be the law.

Planned Parenthood of Arizona (PPAZ) suspended all abortion services following Friday’s Roe ruling due to Arizona’s “legal landscape.” It continues to offer multiple reproductive and sexual services, including gender affirmation care and other health screenings.

“We believe that everyone’s body is theirs and theirs alone,” PPAZ said in a statement. “But now the Supreme Court has taken away our federal abortion rights and overturned Roe v. Wade, turning its back on nearly 50 years of precedent.

All Planned Parenthood sites in Arizona, in addition to at least three private clinics in Phoenix and one clinic in Tucson, suspended all abortions starting Friday, according to the Arizona Republic.

In her interview with Lake, Baier mentioned how the mayors of Phoenix and Tucson “don’t want to move forward with this” and will “push back” against anti-abortion measures.

Lake responded by calling Democratic mayors Kate Gallego of Phoenix and Regina Romero of Tucson “socialists” who are “always trying to push back.”

When Gallego was first elected, she pledged to work with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona “to build a healthier Phoenix…where women have access to the health care they need and feel supported.” to make the right choices for their families.”

On Friday, she tweeted that she was “deeply disappointed” with the Supreme Court’s decision.

“Phoenix is ​​a pro-choice city” Gallego wrote:. “A majority of the city council and I have no interest in using city resources to prevent women from accessing health care.”

Jeanine L’Ecuyer, spokeswoman for Gallego, said in a statement to Newsweek that Gallego ran two successful companies and landed a $12 billion chip manufacturing plant in Phoenix – “definitely not a socialist’s credentials”.

“As Ms. Lake continues to use what appears to be the only game in her playbook – attempting to score points via schoolyard bullying tactics – Mayor Gallego has been clear Phoenix won’t give up. priority for investigation or prosecution of health care personnel,” L’Ecuyer said. “Instead, the Phoenix Police Department will remain focused on issues affecting this community, with a particular focus on violent crime, particularly violent crime involving firearms.”

Romero called the ruling “hard to accept,” saying the top court “threw a wrecking ball, dismantling the rights of some people in this country.”

“The future of abortion law in Arizona is ambiguous, but one thing is clear: If we don’t have autonomy over our bodies, then what is freedom? she tweeted on Tuesday. “SCOTUS was ready to undo 50 years of established law. What do they come after next?”

A statement in response to Lake’s comments was made by Romero and provided to Newsweekin which she said reproductive rights are on the ballot this year.

“November voters will reject candidates who want to roll back women’s rights to pre-state times,” Romero said. “It reflects the sad state of Republican politics in Arizona, where primary candidates are vying over who can be the most outrageous and conspiratorial candidate. Arizonans deserve better.”

Lake will face Scott Neely, Matt Salmon, Karrin Taylor Robson and Paola Tulliani-Zen in the Aug. 2 primary.

Newsweek contacted Lake’s campaign for comment.

Update 6/29/22, 11:45 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to include comments from Kate Gallego’s spokesperson, Jeanine L’Ecuyer, and Regina Romero.

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