This article was originally published by the Arizona Daily Star. (September 26th)
by Representative Hernandez
Roe v. Wade is officially overturned in Arizona, taking us back to archaic laws over a woman’s body that should have no place in the 21st century.
This not only makes it more difficult for accessibility to abortion and birth control, but truly impacts Arizonans. It is clear that the Arizona Republican Party is taking the stance that women will not have freedom of choice, and this year our rights and freedom will be on the ballot. We must fight against extremism and the views of those who have officially taken Arizona back to 1901.
One month ago I sat across from Vice President Kamala Harris at a roundtable discussing the issues Arizonans are facing with reproductive health care and how archaic laws are hurting us like never before. As a public health professional and a lawmaker, I take this very seriously. This year has even further shown us that Republicans will stop at nothing to take freedoms away from women and people who can become pregnant all across the country.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade by the United States Supreme Court has led to a systematic assault on the rights of Arizonans. States led by Republican governors, attorneys general and legislators are organizing attacks on our reproductive freedom, and we must boldly and directly stand in opposition to these damaging attacks.
Americans deserve and expect to have these constitutional freedoms, but Republicans across Arizona and the nation are doing everything they can to rip them away.
Now is not the time to rip these rights away, now is the time to expand upon them. We must do everything within our power to protect these essential freedoms because when we don’t, people’s lives are put in danger.
When access to abortion is restricted, our health care system is significantly damaged. Facts are facts, and studies show that states with a lack of access to abortion have higher mortality rates in mothers and children — this is true for women across the board, especially for women of color.
These barriers to abortion access lead to delays in critical prenatal care and contribute to the practice of unsafe abortions which kill tens of thousands of women a year.
These statistics show that exemptions like protecting the health of the mother aren’t enough, we have to take the extra step by providing full access to abortion.
But Republicans in Arizona refuse to commit to protecting the freedoms of women. In fact, Attorney General Mark Brnovich has even taken his position even farther to the right, by spreading the belief that we shouldn’t allow access to abortion even in the case of rape or incest. These archaic views are harming the lives of Arizonans, and damaging our institutions of government over an issue that a strong majority of Americans support.
The decision from the Supreme Court as well as legislative action taken by Republican officials in Arizona is a clear attack on privacy and the rights of those who can become pregnant. Having “no exceptions” is dangerous and forces pregnant people to stay in unhealthy or violent situations. As a result, many will stay in poverty, end their careers prematurely, or suffer medical consequences that could have been prevented if they had been able to terminate their pregnancy.
The average cost to receive an abortion in Arizona ranges from $500 to $2,500. Those who are low-income face more difficulties paying for all of the expenses involved in receiving vital reproductive care. Once again, the most vulnerable in Arizona are the most at risk.
The Supreme Court’s extremely dangerous actions have stripped away a vital constitutional right and have opened the door for Republicans across the country to tear down Americans’ access to abortion care.
We simply can not allow the Arizona GOP to further restrict our rights.
Generations of Americans before us have fought tirelessly to ensure the rights we are privileged to have today, but the Republican Party is actively advocating to rip those rights away from so many people–and we must fight with everything we can against these assaults on our rights.
We are in the fight of our lives to make sure that every person in Arizona has the power to control their own bodies, lives, and futures. And, I for one, won’t stop fighting until every Arizonan has the opportunity to make the choices they deserve.