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Democratic lawmakers pushing for abortion rights

Democratic lawmakers have introduced a resolution intended to expose “hypocrisy” of small-government advocates who support laws limiting access to abortion.

SCR1002, would declare the week of Jan. 22 to be Reproductive Rights Awareness Week, a push back against the slew of abortion restrictions passed by the Legislature last session.

New laws include one that prohibits abortions based on the race or sex of the fetus, one that prohibits nurse practitioners from providing medication abortions and one requiring women to have in-person consultation with a physician 24 hours before getting an abortion.

“Some of these bills are insults to women, to our intelligence, and I really resent that,” said Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford, D-Tucson.

The timing coincides with the 39th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which ruled that a woman’s right to privacy, including the decision to have an abortion, was constitutionally protected. In addition to supporting women’s reproductive rights, Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Tucson, called on the self-identified pro-life lawmakers to provide access to affordable child care and health care, and to fund K-12 education.

Rep. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix, ticked off some of the benefits of legalized abortion in the United States, including lower maternal mortality rates since women don’t have to seek illegal abortions.

Cajero Bedford also took shots at former Senate President Russell Pearce, saying that while he painted himself as a champion of “freedom, liberty, and Constitutional rights,” the stance did not extend to women’s reproductive rights.

“Russell Pearce also stated that America is about choices, but how can this be so when the current practice in Arizona is to discourage family planning services, and limit the number of clinics that provide healthcare,” she said.

Although the three women lawmakers acknowledged that the resolution has little chance of even getting a hearing in committee, they said that they wanted to send a message that they were still fighting for abortion rights.

“Women’s rights are human rights. We must not forget that,” said Lopez.

The pro-life Center for Arizona Policy, which lobbies for abortion restrictions every year, called Roe v. Wade “the most tragic U.S. Supreme Court decision in our nation’s history” and argued that legalized abortion has “wreaked immeasurable harm on millions of women.”

In the written statement, CAP president Cathi Herrod suggested that the women’s rights advocates were engaging in some hypocrisy of their own.

“When the Legislature has acted to pass informed consent provisions to protect the health and safety of Arizona’s women, the same people behind SCR1002 who call themselves ‘women’s advocates’ have opposed these measures every step of the way,” she said.

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