Every terrible idea the Republican Party has ever had has at least one bill in the Arizona Legislature this year. Their signature bad ideas — attacks on reproductive rights, voter suppression, and tax cuts for the corporations and the rich — have multiple bills each.￼
The House debated SB1457, a bill that criminalizes doctors, for two hours recently. This is a fetal personhood bill, which values the life of the fetus over the life of the mother and criminalizes doctors for providing abortion counseling or performing abortions when the fetus is determined to be generically abnormal or not viable beyond birth.
Ironically, House Republicans used the rallying cry of “medical freedom” as an excuse to not wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID19, but they don’t see the disconnect between their demands for medical freedom during a public health crisis and their insistence on controlling women’s private medical decisions.
Republicans used parliamentary procedures to shut down debate, but we, too, have our parliamentary experts. They tried to shut us up, but it didn’t work. There was great energy in the room because many of the women who have been joining Floor via zoom (because of the maskless Republicans) joined us on the floor to fight bad bills about voter suppression and abortion. It was so good to hear the strong voices of Reps. Mitzi Epstein, Charlene Fernandez, Raquel Teran, Melody Hernandez and Athena Salman — all on the Floor with the rest of us who have been holding down the safe back corner of the room where Democrats are wearing masks. The debate was epic with many great questions and speeches from those above, plus Dr. Randy Friese (speaking from a medical perspective) and Kelli Butler, Diego Rodriguez, Daniel Hernandez and Reggie Bolding giving impassioned speeches.
Of course, it passed on a party line vote in the House.
Days later, in the Senate, Republican Senator Tyler Pace, whose owns healthcare facilities and employs doctors, said SB1457 went too far in criminalizing physicians and voted “no”. It died temporarily.
Again, Republican employed extreme parliamentary procedures to bring back this horrible bill. Bill sponsor Senator Nancy Barto, Arizona’s #1 anti-abortion champion, employed string of floor motions to revive a bad bill that was clearly dead. (How many Center for Arizona Policy lawyers did it take to figure out those “shenanigans”?)
Stay tuned for more action. It’s time for more public pushback. Extremist Republicans want to force a do-over on SB1457.
Here is my floor speech about medical freedom.