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Anti-Choice Fanatics Are Celebrating Their Big Arizona Win— But GOP Candidates Are Freaking Out

The day after Trump’s phony-baloney messaging video on abortion— basically, “let the states decide; I’m not an extremist nut case like the rest of my party”— the reactionary Arizona Supreme Court revived an 1864 law that banned all abortions, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Marjorie Traitor Greene may have been delighted but Republicans worried about winning elections in areas where the winner is determined by swing voters, independents and moderates were aghast. Take Kari Lake, for example, please. Just 2 years ago she was promoted that very law, which features a 2-5 year prison sentence for anyone involved in performing an abortion. Yesterday she came out against it. What a celebrating religionist extremoist supposed to think? This was Lake yesterday:

Laura Bassett wrote that Arizona’s Draconian Abortion Ban Belongs to Trump. I don’t dispute that but it actually belongs to Trump and the whole Republican Party, including vulnerable scared shitless GOP House incumbents like David Schweikert and Juan Ciscomani. The Democrat running for Schweikert’s seat, Conor O’Callaghan has no intention of letting the profoundly anti-Choice Schweikert— a co-sponsor of the Life at Conception bill— get by with a bullshit statement. Take a look:

And O’Callaghan— who you can help win here— wasn’t finished with the hapless Congressman Schweikert with the long, long aggressively anti-Choice record. O'Callaghan id obviously going to make this a defining issue for November, as Schweikert tries hiding from the "success" of his own highly unpopular policies/:

Bassett noted that ‘In the nearly two years since Trump gleefully took credit for the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade, it has become abundantly clear that abortion is a losing issue for Republicans. So the former president has naturally tried to shift gears on abortion in his own campaign for a second term. After floating the idea of a “very reasonable” national 15-week ban in March, he posted a video statement to Truth Social on Monday declaring that the legality of abortion is for states to determine. ‘The states will determine by vote or legislation, or perhaps both, and whatever they decide must be the law of the land,’ he says in the video, noting that many states ‘will have a different number of weeks, or some will have more conservative than others. At the end of the day, it’s all about will of the people,’ Trump insisted. ‘That’s where we are right now, and that’s what we want— the will of the people.’”

Trump’s logic was put to the test the very next day, when Arizona’s supreme court decided to revive a 160-year old law banning almost all abortions in the state, with no exceptions for rape and incest. So a law that was enacted in 1864— 55 years before women had the right to vote and before Arizona was even a state— now supplants the state’s existing 15-week ban on abortion despite the fact that a majority of Arizonans support legal abortion in all or most cases. Even Kari Lake,  the election-results-denying, QAnon-backed Republican running for Senate who praised her state’s zombie law just two years ago, quickly issued a statement denouncing the court’s decision as “out of step with Arizonans.” Yet Trump didn’t just pave the way for the court to override the will of its constituents; he effectively endorsed this extreme outcome.”
Arizona is not the first example of how kicking abortion back to the states subverts “the will of the people.” Everywhere voters have been allowed to weigh in on abortion via ballot measure after Dobbs— even in red states— they have chosen to protect abortion rights. Yet Republican lawmakers are overriding their constituents at every turn and ramming through unpopular, draconian bans on the procedure. Texas enacted an unhinged bounty-hunter abortion law that incentivizes people to spy on one another; North Carolina Republicans schemed with a Democrat to have her switch parties to help them pass a vetoproof 12-week abortion ban; and Florida lawmakers passed a draconian ban on abortions at six weeks, which is before many women even realize they’re pregnant. GOP lawmakers in Ohio went as far as trying to undermine a pro-abortion ballot measure that voters approved in the courts; their efforts to stop the new constitutional amendment from taking effect have been unsuccessful.
Trump has endorsed all of these bans and craven tactics by suggesting that state legislatures, many of which are gerrymandered to hell, should be allowed to pass any kind of abortion restriction they feel like passing. If his disingenuousness on the issue weren’t already obvious, the moment Republican senator Lindsay Graham and anti-abortion activists pushed back on his latest comments, he basically told them to STFU until he wins reelection.
“Many good Republicans lost elections because of this issue, and people like Lindsey Graham, that are unrelenting, are handing Democrats their dream of the House, Senate, and perhaps even the presidency,” he snapped back on Truth Social.

The subtext here is that Trump would be very open to signing a federal abortion ban if it were to come across his desk in a nonelection year. As president, he could also direct the Justice Department to enforce the Comstock Act, a dormant 1873 law that could effectively ban abortion nationwide, much like what just happened in Arizona. In that case, Trump wouldn’t even have to sign any anti-abortion legislation. Twenty-six Republican senators and 119 Republican House members have already signed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to ban abortion via the Comstock Act.
Trump would be far from the first Republican to lie about sending abortion policy back to the states, as the party has been using that deceitful framing for years to soften the blow of overturning Roe. But it’s important to note that even without any federal abortion ban in place, state-level restrictions are having catastrophic effects on women facing charges over their pregnancy outcomes and being denied lifesaving abortions in the most extreme of circumstances.
Any candidate who doesn’t outright promise to protect abortion rights at a federal level with proactive legislation has no regard for “the will of the people.” Because if the voters had much say in the matter, there would be no state abortion bans in the first place. Reviving zombie abortion laws from the 1800s will make it that much harder for any Republican, but especially Trump, to make the case for themselves by November.

As for Lindsey Graham, Ed Kilgore wrote that “It’s ironic that Trump is chastising Graham for being all over the place on abortion policy; Graham has never, so far as I know, been publicly pro-choice the way Trump once was, and Trump has also had happy feet on the subject very recently as he cast about for the most politically defensible position. In addition, Trump knows Graham is going to support his election anyway, as are all the anti-abortion groups, as they made clear... One group let the cat out of the bag: ‘CatholicVote president Brian Burch said leaving the issue to states was not sufficient, but slammed Biden and added that the organization is confident a Trump administration will be staffed with pro-life personnel committed to pro-life policies.’ This is code for two articles of faith about the future of abortion policy under another Trump presidency. First, there are a ton of actions a president can take to restrict abortions without a congressionally imposed ban, notably by regulatory actions against the medications that have become the most common form of abortion, not to mention the impact of a federal law-enforcement system and appointed judges aligned with states that are trying to stamp out legal abortion. Second, if and when Republican political power in Washington reaches the heights necessary to enact a national abortion ban (which would, among other things, likely require abolition of or a carve-out from the Senate filibuster), Trump’s anti-abortion constituencies believe he’ll abandon the states-rights position and go for the gold.”

So how big a deal was this ruling for the November election? This morning, Maegan Vazquez and Maria Alfaro reported that the “near-total abortion ban slated to go into effect in the coming weeks in Arizona is expected to have a seismic impact on the politics of the battleground state, testing the limits of Republican support for abortion restrictions… Stan Barnes, a Republican consultant who previously served in Arizona’s state legislature, said Tuesday’s ruling was ‘a shock to the Republican body politic in Arizona’ that will have ‘a tremendous impact on the 2024 election outcome. I’m trying to think of when there was a more stunning, political phenomenon injected into an election cycle and I can’t think of one. It’s just a powerful change in the political landscape leading up to the 2024 general election,’ added Barnes. Max Fose, an Arizona Republican operative who formerly worked for then-Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), said he thinks Tuesday’s ruling also will ‘definitely give Biden a leg up going into the election.’ Fose argued that the court basically ‘pushed Arizona back to the Civil War days’— something he predicted the state’s voters would reject. ‘If we look at it, it’s like 9 percent of the electorate is Republican swing voters, that represents 234,000 people,’ he said. ‘They just slummed those people over to Biden’s corner.’”

Arizona Democrats agree. Vazquez and Maria Alfaro wrote that “Tony Cani, a Democratic strategist who was deputy director for Biden’s 2020 campaign in Arizona, said he thinks the ruling ‘is going to be catastrophic for’ Republicans in his state. ‘This is earth-shattering,’ said Cani, who founded Slingshot Campaigns. ‘This is going to create an overwhelming wave of voters who otherwise might not have been enthusiastic about this election, or otherwise might not have voted at all, to go in and vote literally for their lives and for their rights.’… Biden’s reelection campaign put the blame for the Arizona ruling squarely on the president’s 2024 rival. ‘What’s happening in Arizona is only possible because Donald Trump overturned Roe v. Wade,’ Jen Cox, a Biden campaign senior adviser in Arizona, said in a statement. ‘No one should discount the impact this has on women across our state and— as we saw in 2022— Democrats, Independents, and Republicans are going to hold Trump accountable.’

Tuesday’s ruling could also have consequences at the ballot box for two of the justices who voted for the ban. They face a retention election in November. Under Arizona law, the seven Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor but appear on the ballot two years after their initial appointment and every six years thereafter.
Arizona Democratic strategist Stacy Pearson said it became clear to many women in Arizona that the state’s Supreme Court would try to overturn abortion access after then-Gov. Doug Ducey (R) expanded the court in 2016 and appointed conservative justices, and the Republican-led state legislature failed to repeal the territorial ban.
Now, she said, Republicans have begun to “realize that their plan was mistimed.” As a result, she argues, Democrats have an opportunity to capture the U.S. Senate seat and control of Arizona’s state legislature by continuing to run on their messaging about protecting access to abortion.
“This is one of those issues that Democrats have just gotten right from the jump. It isn’t hard to convince voters where the Democrats stand on autonomy,” she said. “This could very well tip the control of the Arizona state legislature and have a Democratic controlled chamber for the first time in my adult [life].”
The decision to add the measure protecting abortion access to the ballot, she noted, also is likely to end up before the state’s Supreme Court.

1 Comment

Apr 11

How about that!!! The nazis in some states just can't help themselves in forcing their evil on women. Thank your gawd. That's the ONLY thing your side has in the + column.

After all, you ALL just couldn't help yourself and rubber-stamp the money's nom again... still... even though he's your worst ever... well, since slick willie and $hillbillary... which you also rubber-stamped. Slick willie got cheney/w "elected". $hillbillary got trump elected.

just can't help yourself but screw the pooch... can you?

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