Arizona Senate president says abortion issue ‘completely blown up’ by media, Democrats

May 2, 2024, 12:00 PM | Updated: 2:11 pm

PHOENIX – The Republican leader of the Arizona Senate said he believes the abortion issue has been overblown by the media and Democrats.

Sen. Warren Peterson told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday that his constituents in Gilbert-based District 14, a GOP stronghold, are more concerned about other issues.

“When I’m on the campaign trail, I don’t have one person asking me about abortion or talking to me about abortion. They are all asking me about inflation and the border,” he said.

“I really feel that this issue was completely blown up because … this is like an obsession by the media and it’s one of the only things that the Democrats are convinced this is an issue where they’re winning on.”

Arizona abortion issue: Where do things stand?

On Wednesday, two Senate Republicans voted with Democrats to pass a bill to repeal the state’s near-total abortion ban. Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs signed the bill into law on Thursday afternoon.

The repeal means a 2022 law that permits the procedure up to 15 weeks of pregnancy will be the prevailing law in Arizona, at least for the time being.

There still could be a period when nearly all abortions would be outlawed in Arizona. The repeal bill didn’t have an emergency clause, so it won’t take effect until 90 days after the end of the legislative session.

The near-total ban can’t be enforced before June 27, according to Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, who said she is working to see that it doesn’t happen at all.

After Wednesday’s vote, Planned Parenthood Arizona filed a motion with the Arizona Supreme court to stay the issuance of its final order on the ban now that it is being repealed.

Are there more changes ahead for Arizona abortion law?

Abortion rights advocates appear to be well on their way to putting a voter initiative on the November ballot that seeks to restore patient rights essentially to the standards of Roe v. Wade.

GOP lawmakers have been discussing plans to put alternative measures on the ballot, which the Legislature can do by passing a resolution that doesn’t require the governor’s approval.

But there is no guarantee the effort will come to fruition. Republicans control both chambers of the Legislature by the slimmest of margins, so it would take just one dissenter to derail any plan.

Five Republicans — three in the House and two in the Senate — sided with Democrats to advance the repeal of the near-total ban, which originated in 1864, before Arizona was a state.

“We have had discussions on putting something on the ballot, but so far we haven’t found something we can get 47 people to agree on,” Petersen said, referring to 31 Republicans in the House and 16 in the Senate.

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Arizona Senate president says abortion issue ‘completely blown up’ by media, Democrats