The Arizona Democratic Party held a press call earlier today (July 19, 2022,) condemning MAGA Republicans for imposing draconian measures restricting women’s bodily autonomy.

The panelists were Party Chairwoman and State Senator Raquel Teran, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, Nurse Practitioner, and Legislative District Nine State Senate Candidate Eva Burch, and State Senator/Arizona Treasurer candidate Martin Quezada.

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In their comments decrying the conservative binge to turn the clock back, in Arizona’s case, over 100 years ago, to a time when women were third-class citizens, several themes were universal among the speakers. They were:

  • The Conservative majority of the United States Supreme Court erred in overturning Roe v Wade and taking away, for the first time, fundamental civil and privacy rights from American Citizens.
  • Republican laws restricting abortions are draconian.
  • Republicans are not done. People like Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy will try to secure federal legislation banning abortion if Republicans gain power.
  • Women, especially those in difficult pregnancies, face potentially dire medical hardships, mental cruelty, and physical, perhaps fatal, harm.
  • MAGA Republicans do not serve the interests of the majority of the American People. Democrats are the party that serves the true interests of the people and it is essential for voters to turn out and defeat the forces that would make America the real-life version of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Party Chairperson Raquel Teran Introduces the Pro-Choice Case.

Arizona Democratic Party Chairperson Raquel Teran.

Leading off the panel, Party Chairperson and State Senator Raquel Teran called the Conservative Supreme Court decision:

a devastating blow to Americans’ fundamental freedom to make their own health care decisions. The decision is the direct result of the Republican’s unrelenting, decades-long, radical war on health care and the right to choose. MAGA Republicans won’t stop there. They want to ban abortions even in cases of rape and incest…”

She then warned about Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy working on a national ban on abortions even in blue states and taking away rights instead of helping to find solutions to issues like inflation.

Chairperson Teran also reminded listeners that Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich wants to reinstitute the abortion law that came into effect before Arizona became a state, calling it an:

extreme draconian law, criminalizing abortion at all stages of pregnancies with no exceptions for rape, incest, and mandates jail time for anyone who facilitates an abortion.”

Of the attorney general, Teran said “this was a cruel and dangerous effort to revoke Arizonans health care freedoms, not to mention an overwhelming majority of Arizonans oppose this ban.”

Saying, “Arizona is ground zero for the fight for reproductive rights,” Teran stated, “Republican’s MAGA agenda is widely out of touch and unpopular with the American People” and recited mainstream poll after mainstream poll that showed that the people do not support the Supreme Court decision and the ban.

She concluded by stating electing pro-choice congressional, statewide, and local leaders represent the “last line of defense” for reproductive freedom and called for a massive voter organization and turnout effort for this November’s elections NOW.

Senator and Treasurer Candidate Martin Quezada echoes many of Teran’s themes. 

State Senator and Arizona Treasurer Candidate Martin Quezada

Current State Senator and Treasurer Candidate Martin Quezada echoed many of Teran’s points, repeating her term that the Republican efforts in Arizona and across the country to institute or reinstitute anti-abortion measures “are draconian” and they “will do the most harm in Black, Latino, and Indigenous Communities…These are the communities that already face incredible barriers to health care and economic opportunities.”

He also relayed:

Everybody’s body is theirs alone and that no politician and no judge should ever be able to take away anybody’s freedom and power to control their own body and own life. Every individual’s personal medical decisions are theirs alone and every individual should be able to make decisions that impact the course of their lives. I also believe that health care, including access to abortion, should be available to every individual regardless of zip code, income level, the racial makeup of your community, and immigration status…”

He, like Teran, also called this year’s elections “the last line of defense” and called on voters to vote for pro-choice candidates up and down the ballot.

Nurse Practioner and State Senate Candidate Eva Burch Discussed the Dangers to Women if these Anti-Abortion Laws remain. 

Arizona LD Nine Democratic State Senate Candidate Eva Burch

State Senate Legislative District (LD) District Nine Candidate and Nurse Practioner Eva Burch focused her remarks on women going through the tragedy of miscarriages and how this new Arizona law precludes women from receiving safe medical treatment because the statute does not distinguish a medically needed abortion from other forms.

She movingly recounted her own tragic recent experience of becoming pregnant earlier this year and having a miscarriage and an emergency abortion because of the poor health of the fetus. Calling it “the impossible choices that people who are pregnant face in health care today,” Ms. Burch continued, “But now in Arizona, the option I had to have my abortion procedure the next day…which I did, is no longer available and it is heartbreaking and infuriating that that’s what we’re left with for the people of Arizona today and it’s happening in multiple states all across the country.”

Later she expressed worry that the language of these anti-abortion statutes may prevent physicians from acting to prevent medical emergencies when women are having complications due to their pregnancies and “denying life-saving care to patients who are experiencing miscarriages and other pregnancy-related emergencies. Life-threatening is a gray area. It’s subjective and that’s how people die.”

Ms. Burch then relayed the facts about abortion including

  • 93 percent of abortions are performed in the first trimester.
  • When people are denied an abortion, studies show they have higher rates of poverty, bankruptcy, and food insecurity.
  • Their other children have worse health and developmental outcomes.
  • Higher rates of domestic violence.
  • Long-term health problems include complications in those pregnancies that are forced to continue including, in some cases, death.
  • The heartbeat is often not the sound of a functioning heart or fully developed organ.
  • Fetuses that have severe genetic or physical abnormalities where the baby would not survive long after birth would be forced to be delivered and the mother, and the child, would have to suffer through that.

She said these draconian laws are a death sentence for some women in this country who are pregnant and it is only a matter of time (before someone dies because of one of these laws.)”

In her concluding remarks, Ms. Burch said:

“Regardless of the reason, when I went for my abortion, my situation was the same as every other person that walks into the clinic looking for an abortion. I was pregnant and for reasons I should not have to explain to anyone’s church or anyone’s government, I needed to not be pregnant anymore. That option continues to be made available for the people of Arizona and I am ready to fight hard and work my hands to the bone to make sure that it continues to be that way.”

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero Makes Effective Closing Remarks

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero

Following Burch, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero relayed that:

“Every single one of these stories is personal and it is a decision not easy to make but it is the choice of the person going through that pregnancy that we are so devastated that the Supreme Court took from usNot in my entire life have I been witness to a Supreme Court removing rights and freedoms from certain people because that is exactly what the right-leaning conservative-leaning Supreme Court has done to certain people in this country and that is something that infuriates all of us that have been stripped away of our rights to bodily autonomy. And if we don’t have bodily autonomy, what rights do we have…This attack on our rights. We have to do something about it. We have it in our hands as Arizonans, as civic-minded Americans that we need to make sure that we’re doing something about it.”

She also cited polling data, stating that “nine out of ten Arizonans believe we should have the freedom on how and when we start our family. Freedom from political interference to take that action and do what we need to do.”

Like Chairperson Teran, Mayor Romero went after Maga Republicans, offering:

“The MAGA Republicans are not representative of what Americans want and instead of focusing on making working family’s lives more better in our country, they’re focusing on wedge issues that don’t make sense for the majority of Americans and don’t make sense for the majority of Arizonans…From every single level of government, this particular election is important…every level of government is important to remove MAGA Republicans from the election box.”

She then recounted the City of Tucson decision to tell police officers not to arrest anyone involved in abortion procedures from the parent to the physician.

She also repeated Burch’s and Quezada’s assertions that communities of color will be most impacted by these “draconian” anti-abortion measures, stating:

“they will disproportionately harm people of color who have always faced systemic barriers to health care” as well as “low-income, rural, LGBTQ, and undocumented communities. It is going to perpetuate poverty…”

Saying “this is not the end,” Romero repeated that McConnell and MAGA Republicans would work to pass a federal ban on abortion across the country including “those states that have constitutional protections and other laws that protect people in terms of abortion. It is not the end and that is why this election is so important and we have to make sure that people understand there’s a difference between electing MAGA Republicans and what they’re trying to push and what Democrats have to offer…”

The Mayor then concluded by reciting what the Democrats offer the people, including:

“Representation for working families in their day-to-day issues like how inflation is affecting their pocketbook, how are we going to continue providing funding for public education, how do we make health care available to all. Those are the issues that we the Democrats are fighting for. How do we help people from losing their homes through an eviction? How do we create more affordable housing? Those are the issues that at the end of the day affect in a positive way, each and every Arizonan and each and every American. The difference is stark and clear. MAGA Republicans are not representing working families.  They are not representing what the majority of Americans want us, as elected officials, to focus on.”

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