Kari Lake, Arizona’s GOP candidate for governor, says abortion should be rare but not illegal

Oct 4, 2022, 11:05 AM | Updated: Oct 5, 2022, 5:20 pm
Arizona Republican nominee for governor Kari Lake greets an attendee during a Sept. 20, 2022, campa...
Arizona Republican nominee for governor Kari Lake greets an attendee during a Sept. 20, 2022, campaign event in Chandler. (Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for governor in Arizona, said Tuesday she would like abortions to be rare and safe, but not illegal.

“It would be really wonderful if abortion was rare and legal, the way they said it before,” Lake told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show.

“Remember ‘rare, but safe; rare, but safe?’ I think that’s what they said. Be really wonderful if that’s how it turned out.”

(Editors note: After the interview aired and this story was published, a spokesman for Lake said she meant to say only “rare but safe,” according to The Associated Press.)

Democrats, most notably Bill Clinton, started using the words “safe, legal and rare” when talking about abortion in the 1990s but have since moved away from including “rare” in the slogan.

“It went from rare and legal to an abortion right up until the baby’s born,” Lake said. “That’s not right. And now they want to make somebody who is pro-life seem like they’re radical. I’m not radical. We’re not radical for being pro-life.”

Lake acknowledged the confusion over Arizona’s abortion laws after a state judge ruled that a near-total ban that originated in 1864 could be enforced despite a new law that permits the procedure through 15 weeks of gestation. But she didn’t come down on one side or the other.

“I want to see … where this goes,” she said. “I don’t know right now. I’m confused. We appear to have two laws, and there seems to be some controversy in which law it’s going to be.”

Lake’s said she wants “to save as many lives as possible.”

“That being said, we need to help moms, we need to help pregnant women,” she said. “I’m all about women getting health care. Absolutely.

“It would be crazy to think, as a woman myself, I don’t want health care for women, but absolutely I do. I come from a family of nine; eight of us are girls.”

Lake’s campaign website says she supports making birth control available over the counter and providing assistance to those who can’t afford it.

“We absolutely need to take care of our young women when they find themselves pregnant. We need to help them so they’re not afraid, so they know there are options,” she said, citing pregnancy centers and adoption.

Arizona’s near-total and 15-week bans include prison time for abortion providers, but patients aren’t subject to prosecution. The conflicting bans also both include exceptions for the mother’s health, but not for cases of rape or incest.

Lake didn’t answer directly when she was asked if she supported rape and incest exceptions. She said it was “a very small percentage of abortions” and accused her opponent, Democrat Katie Hobbs, of supporting “abortion right up until birth.”

On her campaign website, Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state, says, “Let me be clear — the decision to have a child should rest solely between a woman and her doctor, not the government or politicians.”

Hobbs also says she’d call a special session to repeal the pre-statehood near-total ban, and if that fails she’ll spearhead an effort “for a ballot measure to repeal and replace this abortion ban with one that is in line with the beliefs of the vast majority of Arizonans.”

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Kari Lake, Arizona’s GOP candidate for governor, says abortion should be rare but not illegal