Arizona lawmaker says she plans to have an abortion after learning her pregnancy isn't viable

An Arizona lawmaker has announced plans to have an abortion after learning her pregnancy is not viable

Via AP news wire
Tuesday 19 March 2024 21:12 GMT

An Arizona lawmaker announced Monday on the state Senate floor that she plans to have an abortion after learning that her pregnancy is not viable.

State Sen. Eva Burch, a registered nurse known for her reproductive rights activism, was surrounded by fellow Democratic senators as she made the announcement, The Arizona Republic reported.

Burch said that she found out a few weeks ago that “against all odds,” she was pregnant. The mother of two living children from west Mesa who is running for reelection said she has had “a rough journey” with fertility. She experienced her first miscarriage 13 years ago, was pregnant many times and terminated a nonviable pregnancy as she campaigned for her Senate seat two years ago, she said.

Now, Burch said that her current pregnancy is not progressing and not viable and she has made an appointment to terminate.

“I don’t think people should have to justify their abortions," Burch said. “But I’m choosing to talk about why I made this decision because I want us to be able to have meaningful conversations about the reality of how the work that we do in this body impacts people in the real world.”

Burch said the state’s laws have “interfered” with her decision. Arizona law required an “invasive” transvaginal ultrasound that her doctor didn’t order and she was then read “factually false” information about alternatives that was required by law, she said.

“I’m a perfect example of why this relationship should be between patients and providers,” not state lawmakers, Burch said. “My experiences in this space both as a provider and as a patient have led me to believe that this legislature has failed the people of Arizona."

Burch called on the legislature to pass laws that make sure every Arizonan has the opportunity to make decisions that are right for them. She also said she hopes voters have a chance to weigh in on abortion on the November ballot. Two abortion bills proposed this year by Democrats have not received committee hearings so far. One of them would repeal a pre-statehood law that criminalizes nearly all abortions.

The Arizona Supreme Court is considering the fate of the 1864 law. In a 2022 ruling over the law, a lower court concluded doctors can’t be criminally charged for performing an abortion in the first 15 weeks of pregnancy because other Arizona laws over the years have allowed them to provide abortions.

A signature drive is underway as part of a campaign to add a constitutional right to abortion in Arizona. Under the proposal, the state would not be able to ban abortion until the fetus is viable, which is around 28 weeks, with later abortions allowed to protect a woman’s physical or mental health. Supporters must gather nearly 384,000 valid signatures by July 4. Current law bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

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