Lake, Gallego say they oppose Arizona abortion decision

April 9, 2024

Both Arizona Senate candidates came out against the state Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday that upholds one of the strictest abortion bans in the country.

The court’s decision put into place an 1864 law barring abortion access in all cases except to save the life of the mother. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) and GOP candidate Kari Lake each said the ruling should be overturned.

Lake, who has in the past called the 1864 law “great” and showed support for strict abortion bans, said the Legislature should instead decide on abortion rights legislation. The comments come just a day after former President Trump said the issue should be left to states.

“I understand the fear and anxiety of pregnancy, and the joy of motherhood. I wholeheartedly agree with President Trump — this is a very personal issue that should be determined by each individual state and her people,” she said in a statement. “I oppose today’s ruling, and I am calling on [Gov.] Katie Hobbs and the State Legislature to come up with an immediate common sense solution that Arizonans can support.”

Gallego, meanwhile, doubled down on his stance in favor of abortion rights.

“Today’s ruling is devastating for Arizona women and their families,” he said. “This is not what Arizonans want.” 

“This decision rips away the right for women to make their own healthcare decisions with their doctors,” he continued. “I promise you that we will fight this together. And with your help, we will win.”

Gallego also shared Lake’s previous comments on the 1864 bill hours after the ruling, using them as an attack on her record.

“I won’t let Kari Lake distort the record,” he wrote on the social platform X. “She called this law a ‘great law’ — even though it will ban nearly all abortions, including in cases of rape or incest.”

Abortion rights will be one of the key issues in the 2024 election, with similar statewide abortion rights issues already taking center stage in Florida and other key states. Arizona is set to be one of the closest races, both in the Senate and for the presidential election. 

There will also likely be a constitutional amendment over abortion rights on the Arizona ballot in November, after a petition group announced they collected enough signatures to get on the ballot last week.

Conflicts over abortion rights have generally favored Democrats nationwide since the Roe v. Wade precedent was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2022, driving moderates toward the Democratic Party and boosting turnout among women and young people. The Biden campaign has leaned in on the issue, hoping it can take advantage of the divisive topic.

President Biden himself also warned that the state decision could be a sign of things to come on the national level in a statement Tuesday.

“Millions of Arizonans will soon live under an even more extreme and dangerous abortion ban, which fails to protect women even when their health is at risk or in tragic cases of rape or incest,” Biden said.

“This cruel ban was first enacted in 1864 — more than 150 years ago, before Arizona was even a state and well before women had secured the right to vote,” the president continued. “This ruling is a result of the extreme agenda of Republican elected officials who are committed to ripping away women’s freedom.”

Vice President Harris is also set to visit Arizona on Friday to speak about abortion rights, the White House announced in the wake of the court’s decision.