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Arizona Lawmaker Shares On State Senate Floor Why She Plans To Get An Abortion

An Arizona lawmaker shared that she plans to get an abortion during a powerful speech she gave on the state Senate floor Monday afternoon.

State Sen. Eva Burch (D) stood at the end of Monday’s session to make a point of personal privilege, a right afforded to Arizona lawmakers when they would like to make a personal remark. Burch, who for the last 12 years has worked as an emergency room nurse and nurse practitioner at a women’s health clinic, shared that a few weeks ago she and her husband found out she was pregnant. Burch described how she’s had “a rough journey with fertility,” miscarrying many times, and recalled how she got an abortion two weeks before Roe v. Wade fell in 2022 due to a nonviable diagnosis of a wanted pregnancy.

“We have determined that my pregnancy is once again not progressing and is not viable, and once again I have scheduled an appointment to terminate my pregnancy,” Burch told her colleagues on the Senate floor, with a handful of her female colleagues standing behind her in support.

“I don’t think people should have to justify their abortions,” she said. “But I’m choosing to talk about why I made this decision because I want us to be able to have meaningful conversations about the reality of how the work that we do in this body impacts people in the real world.”

Watch part of Burch’s speech below.

Abortion is currently banned in Arizona after 15 weeks. Burch did not specify how far along she is, but she is still getting care in-state, so she must be less than 15 weeks pregnant.

Arizona has long implemented other restrictions that bar access to care, including a 24-hour waiting period before a patient can get an abortion, undergoing an ultrasound and listening to state-mandated information about adoption and parenting. A near-total abortion ban went into law when federal abortion protections fell, but it’s not currently in effect as it makes its way through the courts.

“I don’t know how many of you have been unfortunate enough to experience a miscarriage before, but I am not interested in going through it unnecessarily,” Burch said. “Right now, the safest and most appropriate treatment for me — and the treatment that I choose — is abortion. But the laws this legislature has passed has interfered with my ability to do that.”

Burch, who has given birth to two sons, described how, despite being at an abortion clinic just a few days ago, she is still pregnant. She had to sit through an uncomfortable transvaginal ultrasound and listen to an “exhaustive list of absolute disinformation.”

“From where I sat, the only reason I had to hear those things was a cruel and really uninformed attempt by outside forces to shame and coerce and frighten me into making a different decision other than the one that I knew was right for me,” she said.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all script for people seeking abortion care, and the legislature doesn’t have any right to assign one.”

Abortion rights advocates in the state are working on getting a pro-choice constitutional amendment on the November ballot. The initiative seeks to enshrine protections for abortion care up until fetal viability, which is usually around 24 weeks. Pro-choice groups have until July to collect just under 384,000 signatures for the initiative to appear on the 2024 ballot in Arizona.

Sam Paisley, national press secretary for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, commended Burch for sharing her story and described her as the “epitome of courage” in a statement shared with HuffPost.

“No woman should have to go through the emotional and physical hurdles she described,” Paisley said. “Arizona Republicans have passed unnecessary burdens on abortion care that put women in danger. Senator Burch’s story is powerful, but it is sadly not unique — patients across Arizona have to jump through hoops to get the care they need. There are very real, and sometimes even deadly, consequences to the attacks on reproductive freedom that Republicans across the country have launched.”

Burch urged the legislature to base their decisions on excerpted testimony and consensus from the medical community, as well as input from voters. She called on her fellow lawmakers to resist political posturing or partisan bias on an issue that shouldn’t be political at all. The Democrat added that she hopes to see the pro-choice initiative make it to the ballot in November.

“I stand with those who have had to grapple with and navigate Arizona’s restrictive laws surrounding abortion at a time when the decisions being made were complicated enough,” she said. “I’m with them. I appreciate them. I am them.”

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