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Arizona Republicans distance themselves from state Supreme Court ruling on abortion

Republicans voiced opposition to the ruling a day after former President Donald Trump said abortion laws should be decided by states.
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Hours after the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that a near-total ban on abortion is enforceable, numerous Arizona Republicans who previously celebrated the end of federal protections for the procedure sought political cover by distancing themselves from the ruling.

Republicans in the state issued a wave of statements in opposition to Tuesday's ruling, which came a day after former President Donald Trump said that abortion laws should be decided by states.

Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake, who two years ago called the 1864 statute "a great law," said Tuesday that it was "out of step with Arizonans.”

"I oppose today’s ruling," she said, while also adding, "I wholeheartedly agree with President Trump — this is a very personal issue that should be determined by each individual state and her people."

Trump has frequently boasted that he is responsible for the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022. More than a dozen states have imposed abortion bans or no longer have facilities where abortions can be obtained since the Supreme Court eliminated federal protections in 2022.

Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., who in 2021 co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act, which declared the right to life at "the moment of fertilization," also voiced disapproval of the ruling, saying abortion "should be decided by Arizonans, not legislated from the bench."

In 2022, Schweikert wrote on X that he was "pleased" with the fall of Roe v. Wade.

Fellow Arizona Republican Rep. Juan Ciscomani said that Tuesday's ruling was “a disaster for women and providers” and that the Civil War-era law was “archaic.”

Schweikert and Ciscomani are locked in competitive races for re-election that the nonpartisan Cook Political Report has labeled Republican toss-ups.

The campaign arm of House Democrats said Schweikert and Ciscomani "are hell-bent on controlling women and bringing this country backwards."

"Voters know that Juan Ciscomani and David Schweikert have been working overtime to restrict access to abortion care," Lauryn Fanguen, a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement Tuesday. "Whether it’s voting to restrict medication abortion or co-sponsoring a nationwide abortion ban, time and time again Ciscomani and Schweikert have made it clear that they will side with anti-abortion zealots over Arizona women."

Republican legislators also blasted the high court's ruling.

State Rep. T.J. Shope called the ruling "disappointing to say the least," adding that he would work to repeal the law in favor of a 15-week abortion law then-Gov. Doug Ducey signed two years ago.

Ducey, a Republican, said the ruling was "not the outcome I would have preferred."

The law upheld by the state Supreme Court outlaws abortion from the moment of conception but includes an exception to save the woman’s life. The ruling effectively undoes a lower court’s ruling that the recent 15-week ban from 2022 superseded the 1864 law.

State Rep. Matt Gress, who also backed a 15-week abortion ban, condemned the ruling, saying it “cannot stand.”

“I cannot and will not condemn women, especially the victims of rape and incest, to be forced to carry their pregnancy to term," Gress said, calling on Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen and House Speaker Ben Toma to bring a measure to the floor to repeal the ban “and restore modern-day protections for Arizona women."

Petersen and Toma — both Republicans — said in a joint statement that they were looking over the court's ruling.

"We will be closely reviewing the court’s ruling, talking to our members, and listening to our constituents to determine the best course of action for the legislature," the statement said.

Reached for comment, a spokesperson for Arizona Senate Republicans did not say whether they would take up a repeal effort.