Arizona Republicans Pushed Abortion Ban -- And Now They're Terrified

Arizona Republicans Pushed Abortion Ban -- And Now They're Terrified

Kari Lake

Photo by Caitlin O'Hara/REUTERS

The Arizona Supreme Court ruling that restores an 1864 law banning abortion at any stage has Republicans scrambling to distance themselves from the archaic law. The result is some textbook examples of hypocrisy and Republicans screaming in frustration over the results of getting exactly what they insisted that they wanted.

The best example of what happens when a dog succeeds in catching the car may be found in a statement from Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake. Lake now says she “opposes” the ruling and is asking Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs—who defeated Lake in the 2022 gubernatorial election—to pass “an immediate common sense solution” to block the court’s ruling.

But just two years ago, when an appeals court ruled against the law in the exact same case, Lake declared that the ban passed when Arizona was still a territory was “a great law.” During a debate with Hobbs, Lake insisted that she would enforce the 1864 law if elected.

Now Lake is begging Hobbs to bail Republicans out of the disaster they supported and caused.

Lake is far from alone in her frantic backpedaling. Other Arizona Republicans are attacking the ruling and the effect goes far beyond one state.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, the Arizona decision blows up the pretense behind Donald Trump’s claim that he can both destroy Roe v. Wade and somehow remain neutral. It even has Republicans in Florida quaking as they look at how the Arizona law threatens their political security.

As much as Republicans would like to pretend that the Arizona Supreme Court just happened to glance at the Big Book of Ye Olde Laws and randomly weigh in a century and a half ago, that is not how this happened. Republicans did this.

This case was brought in 2022 by Arizona’s Republican attorney general at the time, Mark Brnovich, after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Attorneys general in 17 other states, led by Arkansas’ Tim Griffin, filed an amicus brief in support of reinstating the ban. It was also supported by Republican Speaker of the Arizona House Ben Toma by Republican President of the Arizona Senate Warren Peterson.

At every level, this ruling is exactly what Republicans said they wanted. What they told their supporters they wanted. It is literally what Lake and other Arizona Republicans campaigned on. There are reportedly enough votes in the House and Senate to overturn the law, but Toma is blocking a vote.

Also signing on in support of the case were half a dozen big right-wing groups, including the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Pediatricians, and the Charlotte Lozier Institute, all of which also filed amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that overturned Roe.

Republicans can lie about it all they want, but the Arizona Supreme Court acted because Trump ended Roe, and Republicans persuaded the Arizona court to enforce a law made when Arizona was only about half a territory.

This is the promise Republicans made to radical anti-abortion forces to secure their funds, fervor, and support in every campaign since Roe. Like Pontius Trump trying to wash his hands of the results he bragged about, Republicans are finding that getting what they asked for isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Meanwhile, organizers said earlier this month they have collected enough signatures to put the Abortion Access Act on the ballot this November, which would enshrine the right to an abortion in the state constitution. Voters in seven states, including some that are regarded as dark red, have sided with reproductive rights, and as many as 13 more could see the issue on the ballot in 2024. In Arizona, such a ballot measure—especially in light of the recent ruling—could bring voters to the polls in a way that would be very unfavorable to Republicans this November.

That’s also why DeSantis and other Republicans are shaking in Florida. That state will also have a similar ballot measure this November. Actions like the IVF ruling in Alabama and this latest ruling in Arizona are a wake-up call for Florida voters to remind them that they need to get out and fix this in a way Republicans can’t easily reverse.

Every time this issue is in the news, it increases the chance that voters in those states will want to ensure their abortion rights. And it increases the chance that Republicans lose more elections. That includes increasing the chance that Trump goes down hard.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

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