Advertisement

More people are getting abortions, new study says. This Arizona lawmaker is going to have one too.

Arizona state Sen. Eva Burch announced her intention to get an abortion during remarks on the state Senate floor on Monday.

Arizona state Sen. Eva Burch.
Arizona state Sen. Eva Burch speaks at the Arizona State Capitol building in Phoenix on March 1, 2023. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

An Arizona lawmaker made what one abortion-rights advocate called a "bold declaration," announcing her decision to get an abortion during an emotional speech on the Senate floor this week.

Democratic state Sen. Eva Burch said that after learning her pregnancy wasn't viable, she decided to get an abortion. And she's not the only one, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute.

The study, published on Tuesday, reported that there were more than 1 million recorded abortions in the U.S. in 2023 — the highest figure in more than a decade.

Burch joins a growing number of people who are getting abortions, despite the Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

Burch announces abortion on the state Senate floor

On Monday, Burch told her colleagues that she would be getting an abortion after she learned her pregnancy was not progressing and was not viable after “numerous ultrasounds and blood draws.”

The mother of two boys — who said that 12 years of being a nurse practitioner specializing in women’s health and mental health informed her decision — also revealed that she and her husband had a nonviable pregnancy that ended in abortion in 2022 while she was campaigning for her current seat.

“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,” she said, adding that legislative bodies do not have the right to assign a “one-size-fits-all script” in people’s reproductive lives.

The year 2022 was the same one in which Arizona Republicans banned abortions after 15 weeks. Burch expressed that her experiences as a provider and a patient — including enduring an unwanted transvaginal ultrasound now required under Arizona law — led her to believe the state’s governing body has “failed” Arizonans.

“Arizonans deserve freedom and liberty to make those decisions for themselves,” Burch said on the Senate floor. “I will never try to force anyone to have an abortion; nobody should ever try to prevent me from having mine.”

Burch also said that while people should not have to justify their decision to terminate a pregnancy, her choice to share her abortion decision should serve as an avenue to “meaningful” discussions “about the reality of how the work that we do in this body impacts people in the real world.”

Abortion hits a high nationwide

According to the Guttmacher Institute, an estimated 1,026,690 abortions were recorded in the U.S. health care system in 2023 — the highest rate in the U.S. in more than a decade.

Kelly Baden, the vice president of public policy for the Guttmacher Institute, told Yahoo News how stories like Burch’s are a reminder of how abortion is a widely shared experience in the U.S.

Burch’s announcement “is a bold declaration in the face of stigma surrounding abortion care and the numerous restrictions both in Arizona and the U.S.,” she said.

The number of abortions rose despite more than a dozen states banning the procedure since June 2022.

Abortion is currently legal in Arizona under certain circumstances including medical emergencies, while several of the state’s abortion laws are tied up in legal battles.

However, the Guttmacher study pointed out that seven states including Arizona have laws limiting abortion access based on the gestational age, or the first day of a person’s last menstrual period.

Data shows that while access to abortion care has dramatically declined in states that have enacted bans, states without total bans saw a 25% uptick in abortions compared with 2020.

Baden linked the abortion increase to work done by clinics and abortion-rights organizations that have helped people in states where the procedure has been banned to access support — particularly in states bordering ban states.

The future of abortion rights

As Burch concluded her speech, she stated that legislative decision-making should be “free from political posturing and partisan bias,” adding she was a perfect example of why a decision to get an abortion should be between doctor and patient. She ended with the hope that Arizonans had the opportunity to weigh in on abortion this November.

Abortion-rights advocates in Arizona are working on an initiative that would enshrine protections for access to abortions up until “fetal viability,” which is around 24 weeks.

Other states that have also pushed for the right to abortion to be on November’s ballot include Nevada, Montana, South Dakota, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Arkansas.

Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris became the first vice president to publicly visit an abortion clinic while in office. During her visit to a Minnesota Planned Parenthood clinic — a stop on her Fight for Reproductive Freedoms tour — Harris said that access to reproductive care, including abortions, was a “health crisis.”

According to a Yahoo/YouGov poll conducted in December, only 26% of Americans say they would vote for “a candidate for major office who wants to ban most abortions that were legal under Roe v. Wade.