Apr 9, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Kari Lake disavows Arizona abortion ban ruling

Arizona Republican Senate Candidate Kari Lake speaks with reporters after leaving the office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Capitol Hill on March, 6 2024 in Washington, DC.

Arizona Republican Senate Candidate Kari Lake speaks with reporters after leaving the office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Capitol Hill on March, 6 2024 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake on Tuesday came out against an Arizona state Supreme Court ruling that bans nearly all abortions, with exceptions only to save the mother's life.

Why it matters: Lake's opposition makes clear how painful of an issue abortion has become for Republicans — and her attempt to make herself more palatable to moderates and independents as she runs for Senate.

  • "I oppose today's ruling, and I am calling on [Democratic Gov.] Katie Hobbs and the state Legislature to come up with an immediate commonsense solution that Arizonans can support," Lake said in a statement.
  • But Lake said in 2022 that the near-total ban the ruling upholds is a "great law" and said it sets an example for other states.

The big picture: Former President Trump on Monday said abortion access is a question for individual states, a shift that angered anti-abortion conservatives but was welcomed by much of the party as Trump vies for another term.

  • But the Arizona decision shows how even that strategy puts Republicans in a bad spot on abortion when a state policy goes too far for the mainstream of the party.
  • Lake in the past has called abortion the "ultimate sin" and applauded other states' decisions to restrict abortion access.

The other side: Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Az.), who will likely face off against Lake for the Senate seat in November, pounced on the Arizona ruling immediately.

  • "Yet again, extremist politicians like Kari Lake are forcing themselves into doctors' offices and ripping away the right for women to make their own healthcare decisions," Gallego said in a statement.
  • Gallego slammed Lake for her prior support for the law. She made the comments in a June 2022 radio interview where she singled out the century-old law.

Reality check: The blanket abortion prohibition in Arizona may only be temporary. Advocates are collecting signatures to refer an abortion rights measure to the November 2024 ballot.

  • Democrats have been rushing to get abortion rights measures on '24 ballots as it looks to be a winning issue with the potential to draw otherwise uninspired voters to the polls.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more reporting.

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