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Arizona Dems, abortion activists respond to 'crushing' Supreme Court ruling

Arizona Dems, abortion activists respond to 'crushing' Supreme Court ruling

  • Hundreds protest for abortion rights in early May after a draft decision of the Supreme Court blocking abortion rights in the U.S. was leaked.
    Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.comHundreds protest for abortion rights in early May after a draft decision of the Supreme Court blocking abortion rights in the U.S. was leaked.

While many Arizona Republicans were celebrating Friday's Supreme Court decision, Arizona Democrats and abortion activists were quick to condemn the ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

"Roe v. Wade was a poorly-reasoned ruling that had no Constitutional basis," Gov. Doug Ducey tweeted. "The Supreme Court has made the right decision by finally overturning it and giving governing power back to the people and the states, he said. "I am proud that Arizona has been ranked the most pro-life state in the country. Here, we will continue to cherish life and protect it in every way possible."

Ducey signed a bill into law in March that made it illegal for a woman to have an abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, even if the patient was a victim of incest or rape.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said officials have "a solemn responsibility to defend the most vulnerable among us, and that’s exactly what we did today." Brnovich—who is running for the GOP nomination for Senate—claimed some credit for the decision, writing he signed on the amicus brief in Dobbs v. Jackson supporting Mississippi’s law.

"I look forward to seeing the issue returned to elected representatives where it belongs. As Americans, we believe in the dignity and value of every person," he said.

"The opinion also reinforces the power of 'states' rights' and both the Ninth and Tenth Amendments," said Rep. Mark Finchem in press release. "I am overjoyed that the Court vacated what was essentially a bad opinion from 1973 that has since cost over 60 million babies to be killed in their mother's wombs."

Meanwhile, Nikki Lee, Tucson City Councilmember and Vice Mayor called the decision "crushing."

"As a woman, mother of daughters, and a community leader, today's Supreme Court decision feels crushing to me," she said. "I continue to recall the faces and stories of women in their 70s and 80s who attended the Tucson Women's March in 2017. They fought so hard to ensure that women had autonomy over their healthcare decisions decades ago, and clearly the fight continues."

"I'm prepared to support any and all efforts to protect the women in our community, and now is the time to support candidates for State Legislature and Governor who will protect a woman's right to make her own healthcare decisions," she said.

"Though not unexpected, this infringement on our rights is hard to accept," wrote Tucson Mayor Regina Romero."The Supreme Court has delivered a wrecking ball, dismantling the rights of SOME people in this country."

Kevin Dahl, the Tucson City Councilman from Ward 3, reiterated this idea writing on Facebook that his immediate response after the decision is to "double my support for Democratic candidates for Arizona Legislature who are pro-choice, and I invite you to do the same. Especially in swing districts."

"Arizona's Republican Legislature already passed laws (that until now could not be enforced) that will now prevent the free choice of women to decide what goes on with their body," he wrote. "Let's respond loudly and decisively. What are your plans to respond to this outrage?"

"The Supreme Court is supposed to keep up where things are in society, and this is one of the biggest mistakes they've ever made, this is incredibly wrong," said Pima County Supervisor Matt Heinz.

Heinz, who said he was wrapping up a 24-hour shift at Tucson Medical Center, noted the court's decision puts abortion care in limbo because it's not clear how Arizona's laws—including a 1912 territorial law banning abortion—will work. "It's just something doctors now have to be cognizant," Heinz said. Doctors, he said, are "trying to do the right thing," and it will be more difficult to make sure patients are "treated holistically."

Heinz also pushed for an effort seeking a constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights in Arizona. "I strongly encourage people to take a look at this," he said.

Arizonans for Reproductive Freedom, which is leading the petition drive to get the amendment on November's ballot, said in a statement they are "intensifying" their campaign to "give voters the opportunity to preserve the fundamental right to abortions in the Grand Canyon State through a constitutional amendment."

"The Supreme Court's catastrophic ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is one of the worst in our nation's history. The decision will result in violation of the fundamental right of all women to comprehensive reproductive healthcare and privacy. It will have direct, immediate and devastating effects for millions of people across the United States, affecting marginalized women and families disproportionately," said Dr Victoria Fewell, an OB-GYN and Chair of Arizonans for Reproductive Freedom. "We must urgently pass a constitutional amendment that protects access to this vital medical procedure."

The group needs to collect 350,000 valid signatures by July 7 to ensure the amendment goes to the November ballot.

Democrat Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is running for governor, tweeted, "Knowing that this day was coming doesn’t dull the pain. Without Roe's protection for the right to choose, governors are now the final line of defense to protect access to safe and legal abortion. It’s never been more urgent to go vote for pro-choice champions at the state level."

"A woman’s health care decisions should be between her, her family, and her doctor," wrote Ariz. Senator Kyrsten Sinema on Twitter. "Today's decision overturning Roe v. Wade endangers the health and wellbeing of women in Arizona and across America. Throughout my time in Congress, I’ve always supported women’s access to health care, and I’ll continue working with anyone to protect women’s ability to make decisions about their futures."

U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, who is widely expected challenge Sinema for the Democratic nomination for the next Senate election, called on Sinema and other Senators to "break the filibuster and codify Roe."

"Women will be arrested soon for doing what’s best for themselves. They have lost their autonomy and have become second class citizens. We are weaker as a country," he wrote. "Break the glass, it’s time."

Sen. Mark Kelly called the decision "a giant step backward for our country."

"It's just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did," he tweeted. "Women deserve the right to make their own decisions about abortion. Period."

U.S. Rep Raúl Grijalva sharply criticized the court's decision, writing "despite Americans' broad support for abortion rights," the "far-right" majority struck down nearly 50 years of precedent.

"This issue is about control," he said. "It is about mostly men, forcing women to carry a child against their will. It is about trapping women in our society in cycles of poverty, so that they cannot easily rise to challenge these men who fear their success."

It takes away the most important and life-changing decision a woman will ever make," Grijalva said. "It is a fundamental and disgusting restructuring of the progress we have made as a county to afford women equity.”

"Make no mistake, this decision will fall on the poorest and most vulnerable women in our country: women of color, young women, and low-income women. Women without means to travel or receive a safe abortion may face life threatening consequences and serious health risks. It also means the U.S. will join one of a handful of countries moving to criminalize abortion access."

"What comes next is a wave of oppressive anti-abortion laws in more than 20 states — home to roughly half the country’s population —  that will target women and infringe on their constitutional right to critical reproductive health care," Grijalva said. "Let’s be clear: Patients should make their own decisions about their own bodies with their doctors without interference from Republican politicians. Period. I strongly believe in protecting and promoting access to health care and privacy — and that includes safe and legal abortion care."

Grijalva also criticized Republicans, writing they've "worked to revoke essential freedoms for patients to make choices about their own bodies and futures under the guise of a "pro-life" agenda," Grijalva said. "Republicans aren’t 'pro-life.' We’ve seen how they refuse to address gun violence, high maternal mortality rates, deny basic health care and contraceptives, deny access to paid family leave and universal childcare, cut programs that feed hungry kids and provide low-income families with opportunities to better themselves."

Grijalva also pushed on Arizona's Senators to do "whatever it takes to pass" abortion protections and "get them to the President’s desk."

"Decades of restrictive laws have already caused many Arizonans to experience severe obstacles to abortion care," said Jennifer Allen, Executive Director at the ACLU of Arizona."Banning abortion even further will leave many with no other option than to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth. Forcing someone to carry a pregnancy against their will has life-altering consequences, including enduring serious health risks from continued pregnancy and childbirth, making it harder to escape poverty, derailing their education and career plans, and making it more difficult to leave an abusive partner."

"We cannot afford to stay silent, and the ACLU of Arizona will be working closely with partners to mobilize our community against anti-abortion attacks,” continued Allen. "Make no mistake: the Supreme Court’s ruling is an unprecedented attack on the rights of all people who can become pregnant, but the fight to defend access to abortion is far from over."

Maria Coxon-Smith contributed to this report.

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