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Arizona GOP strategy document implores party to show ‘Republicans have a plan’ on abortion


PHOENIX —  Republican state legislators in Arizona are considering pushing alternative ballot measures competing with a proposed constitutional amendment expanding abortion rights in the state, according to a PowerPoint presentation obtained by NBC News, as the GOP faces the fallout from a state Supreme Court ruling upholding a near-total abortion ban.

The strategy document includes a slide titled: “PHASE 2: SEND VOTERS TWO OTHER OPTIONS THAT CONFLICT WITH AAA INITIATIVE,” in reference to the Arizona for Abortion Access ballot measure, which aims to enshrine abortion rights into the state’s constitution through fetal viability and vastly expand the scope for exceptions.

The document outlines a plan to give the voters alternatives to the Arizona for Abortion Access ballot measure, presenting options for other constitutional amendments like the “15-week Reproductive Care and Abortion Act and Heartbeat Protection Act.” 

And the document also discusses presenting voters with an option for a limit on abortions after 15 weeks that would actually be a stricter ban.

“Could scale back 15-week law to 14-week law,” reads the presentation. “In reality, a 14-week law disguised as a 15-week law because it would only allow abortion until the beginning of the 15th week,” it goes on. 

The Arizona state Legislature is slated to reconvene on Wednesday as pressure mounts from Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, to repeal Arizona’s 1864 abortion ban.

State House Speaker Ben Toma said in a statement responding to the presentation: “The document presents ideas drafted for internal discussion and consideration within the caucus. I’ve publicly stated that we are looking at options to address this subject, and this is simply part of that.”

Dawn Penich, spokesperson for Arizona for Abortion Access, the coalition of reproductive rights organizations including the ACLU of Arizona and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, said that the document “shows yet again why Arizonans can’t leave our most basic and personal rights in the hands of politicians in the state legislature.

The Republican PowerPoint also outlines a plan to “constitutionalize existing laws,” on the books in Arizona in response to the debate over abortion policy. That includes “forbidding anyone who is not a licensed physician from performing an abortion,” and outlawing “discriminatory abortions” or “prohibiting physicians from performing an abortion when a physician knows the purpose is based on genetic abnormality or race or gender.” 

The purpose of putting forward those proposals, according to the document: “Changes narrative — Republicans have a plan!” It says the GOP needs to give voters “give voters something other than the extreme abortion-on- demand AAA Initiative” to choose in November. The 24-week ballot measure has gotten a surge of attention in the last week after the state Supreme Court ruled that Arizona’s near-total ban dating from 1864 was enforceable.

The Republican strategy document also has a contingency plan in the event that the Arizona For Abortion Access Act’s referendum succeeds in November by adding a “conditional enactment” to it. 

The PowerPoint presentation ends with a slide that includes a meme of late-night television host Seth Meyers and the text, “BOOM. EASY AS THAT.”


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