For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 4, 2021
Arizona — Today, anti-choice lawmakers in the Arizona state Senate pushed through an extreme bill (SB 1457) attacking reproductive freedom and access to abortion. The bill now advances for consideration by the state House of Representatives.
Republicans in Arizona kicked off the 2021 legislative session by doubling down on their attacks on reproductive freedom, introducing nearly a dozen bills restricting access to abortion. SB 1457 is a sweeping bill that would criminalize doctors who provide abortion care, lock into law ideological language defining when “life” begins, force providers to interrogate patients about why they’re seeking abortion care, and ban public education institutions from providing abortion counseling or referrals.
Despite the tragic deaths of more than 16,000 Arizonans due to COVID-19 and more than 820,000 reported cases statewide, Republicans in the state legislature haven’t introduced a single bill aimed toward providing Arizonans with COVID-19 relief— even as the state continues to report thousands of new cases a day. Their decision to prioritize attacking reproductive freedom reflects an increasingly extreme Republican Party that couldn’t be more out of touch with the needs of its constituents— not to mention the 76% of Arizona voters who believe abortion should be legal.
Following today’s vote, NARAL Pro-Choice America Southwest Regional Director Caroline Mello Roberson released the following statement:
“As thousands of Arizonans struggle in the midst of a still-raging pandemic, Republicans in the state Senate remain hell-bent on attacking reproductive freedom. And with SB 1457, anti-choice lawmakers have made it clear that their strategy is to attack abortion rights and access from every angle imaginable. Politicians who claim to be ‘pro-life’ yet endanger the health and lives of their constituents to pursue an extreme ideological agenda are as hypocritical as they come. These legislators are willing to do whatever it takes to advance their goals of gutting Roe v. Wade and pushing abortion care as far out of reach as possible —regardless of the damage inflicted on the lives, health, and wellbeing of Arizona women and families.”
Arizona already has some of the most severe restrictions on reproductive freedom in the United States, which include interrogating people about why they’re ending a pregnancy, forcing delays before a person can receive abortion care, and subjecting patients to mandatory biased counseling. These restrictions disproportionately harm Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), low-income, and rural communities, and are part of a coordinated effort by the Right to maintain white patriarchal control at all costs.
Recent polling found that a strong majority (76%) of Arizona voters believe that abortion should be legal and that the government should not prevent a woman from making that decision for herself. More than half of Arizona voters agree that it is important for state legislatures to proactively protect the right to abortion through state legislation, and say they’re more likely to vote for a candidate who supports a world where people respect others’ personal decisions about parenthood and pregnancy.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.