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How Kari Lake has shifted and changed her abortion stance

In 2022, Republican candidate Kari Lake, who was running for governor, called abortion “the ultimate sin” and hailed a 160-year-old Arizona measure that virtually banned abortion as “a great law.”

But in recent weeks, as it became clear that the Arizona Supreme Court was poised to rule on the law’s fate, Lake, running to become a U.S. senator, called the law “out of step.” with the Arizonians.

Lake, a former television news anchor who narrowly lost her 2022 gubernatorial race to Gov. Katie Hobbs (D), struck a different tone on reproductive rights. presents itself as a driving force in this electoral cycle. The focus has been on Arizona since the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a near-total ban, enacted before Arizona even became a state, can be enforced.

The ruling, which has not yet taken effect, would ban the procedure except to save the life of a pregnant person. Health care providers who perform abortions could face prison time, although Arizona Attorney General, Democrat Kris Mayes, has pledged not to enforce any ban. The decision sent shockwaves throughout the battleground state and could jeopardize Republicans’ hopes of winning a U.S. Senate seat. Lake is expected to face Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego in the November general election.

Since Tuesday’s ruling, Lake has called on Hobbs and the GOP-led state legislature to agree on a solution. In a 5 1/2-minute campaign video released Thursday, Lake sought to appeal to the state’s majority, arguing that a near-total ban on abortion — which invokes an 1864 law that states that anyone who performs an abortion could face a mandatory two-hour prison sentence. years to five years – is “out of step with the situation of the inhabitants of this State”.

In the video, Lake said that if elected to the Senate, she would not support federal funding for abortion or a federal ban on abortion. She expressed support for exceptions to abortion in cases of rape, incest or a threat to the pregnant person’s life, and also noted that she wanted other pregnant women to have “more choices” – but did not go into detail.

“I chose life, but I’m not every woman. I want to make sure every pregnant woman has more choices so they can make the choice I made,” she said.

In addition to outlining her stance on abortion, Lake also expressed support for what she called a “baby bonus” — offering tax incentives to people who get married and reducing their tax rate for each child born. Throughout the video, Lake repeatedly linked his stance on the abortion issue to that of former President Donald Trump — who continues to vote ahead of President Biden in Arizona.

When asked for comment, Lake’s campaign referred The Washington Post to the video released Thursday.

Trump found himself forced to change course on abortion, particularly this election cycle. Just a day before Arizona’s ruling was released, Trump said states should make their own decisions about regulating abortion. But he later criticized the Arizona court for reinstating an abortion law that he said went too far.

Lake was also among a long list of Republican politicians who said they believe life begins at conception.

But since Roe v. Wade was struck down nationally two years ago, Arizona was faced with how to change its laws. Since December 2022, the state has allowed doctors to perform abortions up to 15 weeks into a pregnancy, with exceptions for medical emergencies.

Then, in February, a ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court declared that frozen embryos should be considered children, prompting many in vitro fertilization providers to temporarily halt the procedure while they weighed the consequences. this decision. Alabama’s decision prompted many Republicans — including Lake and members of Congress who had signed a law declaring that life begins at conception — to express support for in vitro fertilization.

Arizona voters are now set to consider whether to amend the state constitution to enshrine the right to abortion this November. Polls show a majority of Arizona voters want abortion to be legal, and many say it’s an issue that drives their decision to vote.

An October New York Times and Siena College poll found that 59 percent of registered voters in Arizona said abortion should be mostly or always legal; 34 percent said it should be mostly or always illegal. In a March Fox News poll, 39 percent of Arizona voters said abortion would be extremely important in deciding their vote for president, and 32 percent said it would be very important. Those who supported Biden in 2020 were nearly twice as likely to say the issue would be extremely important in their vote, 51% to 27%.

The Arizona decision — and Republicans’ response — have once again highlighted the electoral challenge the Republican Party faces regarding its party’s record on abortion and reproductive rights.

Until now, access to abortion afterDeer This era was a winning position for Democrats, and ballot measures to expand access to abortion were successful, even in Republican-dominated states. At the same time, Republicans like Lake are finding they’ve had to revisit what they’ve said on the issue in the past.

During a 2022 Republican gubernatorial debate, when Lake expressed support for the 1864 law, she added that abortion pills should be illegal and said she believed life begins at conception.

“My personal belief is that all lives matter. Every life matters, every life is precious, and I don’t believe in abortion,” she said at the time. “I think the old law will take effect and will come into force. This is what I believe is going to happen.

Lake also told “The Conservative Circus with James T. Harris” in a 2022 radio interview that she supported a law banning abortions with exceptions to save the mother’s life.

“I’m incredibly excited that we already have a great law on the books,” Lake said, adding that “it will ban abortion in Arizona except to save a mother’s life.” And I think we’re going to lead the way and chart the course for other states to follow.

Lake, who remains the favorite heading into the state’s Republican primary this summer, will likely next face Phoenix congressman Gallego. He and other Democrats are using the opportunity to attack his changing comments on the issue.

Speaking to reporters before appearing alongside Vice President Harris at a campaign rally in Tucson on Friday, Gallego captured the importance of abortion rights to voters, saying that access to abortion was “the number one political issue” in Arizona.

Gallego and Harris both blamed Trump for what’s happening in Arizona, linking the new near-total ban on abortion to Trump’s appointment of conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, who ultimately overturned the decision. Deer in 2022.

“The overthrow of Deer “It was, without a doubt, a seismic event — and this ban here in Arizona is one of the biggest aftershocks yet,” Harris said.

Lake could also lose some of her core supporters and anti-abortion activists as she strives for a more moderate message. Steve Deace, a conservative talk show host based in Iowa, wrote on X this week, he said he was “extremely disappointed” by Lake’s opposition to the decision. “In 2022, I thought Kari Lake was one of the best candidates I’ve ever seen, and I said so. Today, she is almost completely unrecognizable from the candidate she was then, just two years later,” he wrote.

Kim Owens, who has long been involved with the Arizona Republican Party, also said she was disappointed by Lake’s recent statements.

“If you’re pro-life and you look at the landscape and you recognize that this is something that we’ve been fighting for decades and the fight continues, in Arizona we are faced with an election proposition that is an abomination, “Owens said.

Owens, who supports Lake’s primary Republican competitor in the Senate race, Mark Lamb, a sheriff, said she thinks Lake is “trying to reach out to his base” to attract more voters.

“I think she understands that she no longer has the charm that she once had. She saw the numbers. Mark Lamb has a lot of support from the party faithful and she is afraid of losing her base,” she said.

Mariana Alfaro, Yvonne Wingett-Sanchez Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Sabrina Rodriguez contributed to this report.

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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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