Lately, the Arizona Republican Party has been on a quadruple-time march to the right. The party’s Twitter feed has given succor to all manner of conspiracy theories about the election being rigged. It even asked its Twitter followers if they would be willing to die to overturn Joe Biden’s narrow victory in the state–only the second time a Democrat has won Arizona in 72 years. Apparently they haven’t figured out that with talk like this, they’ll have a hard time gaining traction in a state that has become more diverse as its population has grown.
For most of the time since World War II, Arizona was an automatic deposit in the Republicans’ bank account. But that’s changed in recent years. With the start of the new session of the state legislature, the Republicans are clinging to power by the thinnest of margins–a one-seat majority in the state house, and a one-seat majority in the state senate.
Unfortunately, a few members of the state house have shown that they can churn out legislation that is as loony as their party’s recent social media posts. They are rallying behind one of their colleagues’ efforts to put those who have abortions at risk for first-degree murder charges.
The leader of this effort is Walt Blackman, who represents a large swath of rural northern Arizona including Flagstaff, Sedona, and Snowflake. He recently introduced a bill that would require local prosecutors to charge any woman who gets an abortion in the state with “homicide by abortion.” Doctors who perform abortions could also face homicide charges.
Blackman introduced this bill on the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Watch coverage from KPNX in Phoenix here.
The bill, viewable here, is an absolute monstrosity. It would require prosecutors to ignore any “contrary or conflicting federal laws, regulations, treaties, court decisions or executive orders” and charge women who have abortions, as well as abortion providers, with homicide.
Based on the manner in which this bill is worded, Blackman wants women who have abortions to do hard time–even in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the mother’s life. There are even situations where a mother or a doctor could be charged with first-degree murder, and potentially face the death penalty.
Let that sink in, folks. If Blackman has his way, a woman who needs to get an abortion in order to save her life puts herself at risk for hard time in prison if she does so. And a woman or girl who is a victim of rape or incest could potentially be arrested for murder if she gets an abortion. Let there be no doubt–Blackman is not pro-life. He is forced-birth.
Seven other Republicans have signed on as sponsors for this bill. One has to wonder if they have hefty bank accounts. After all, it’s plainly obvious that they’re hoping to take this all the way to the Supreme Court–and use it as a battering ram to overturn Roe v. Wade. If that’s the case, ladies and gentlemen, are you willing to reimburse the people for the expenses of defending your bill?
You’re probably wondering–what in the world is a black man doing sponsoring such a heavy-handed bill? Well, as part of the effort to wedge blacks toward their side, abortion foes have tried to claim that abortion is a form of ethnic cleansing. But at the same time, Blackman has trashed George Floyd and called Black Lives Matter a terrorist organization. And of course, he was all in for a president who had no qualms about knowingly calling lawmakers of color “savages.”
If Blackman and his Republican compatriots really cared about the needs of ordinary Arizonans, they wouldn’t be pushing this kind of red meat. But then again, they’re part of a party whose social media feeds of late have resembled those of conspiracy theorists or militia groups. If they stay on this course, they won’t be able to complain when they have a hard time winning elections in the future.
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