Kari Lake flips on Arizona abortion ban, says ‘unfortunately’ it’s not being enforced

April 23, 2024

Republican Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake in an interview with an Idaho media outlet expressed disappointment that her state’s 1864 law banning nearly all abortions is not being enforced, backtracking on comments she made earlier this month when she said the resurrected measure went too far. 

“The Arizona Supreme Court said this is the law of Arizona. But unfortunately, the people running our state have said we’re not going to enforce it,” Lake said in a video interview with the Idaho Dispatch on Saturday. 

“We don’t have that law, as much as many of us wish we did,” she added. 

Lake’s campaign did not immediately respond to questions about her comments, which came in response to criticism from the anti-abortion group Idaho Chooses Life. 

Arizona’s state Supreme Court earlier this month upheld a Civil War-era law that bans nearly all abortions in the state except in instances to save the life of the mother. The law also imposes jail time for physicians who perform abortions.  

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) and Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) said they would not enforce it and won’t prosecute providers.  

The earliest the law could take effect is June 8, and Mayes said in a recent letter to hospitals and doctors her office is exploring “all legal options available” to prevent it from doing so.

Lake, who is running for the seat being vacated by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I), has flipped back and forth on how she speaks about the 1864 measure. In 2022, while she was running for governor of Arizona, she called it a “great law.” 

But after the ruling, Lake had a different take. 

“This total ban on abortion that the Arizona Supreme Court has ruled on is out of line with where the people of this state are,” she said in a video posted to the social platform X on April 11.  

“I agree with President Trump, we must have exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of a mother,” she said. 

Lake has reportedly been personally lobbying GOP members of Arizona’s Legislature to repeal the ban, which would then revert the state back to its 2022 law banning abortion after 15 weeks.

Like the 1864 law, the 15-week ban does not include exceptions for rape or incest.