I’m mad with rage. I am a mother of two beautiful children. But those weren’t my only pregnancies.
Like many other women, I had miscarriages. During one of my pregnancies the doctors told me that for my health they would need to perform a procedure to remove the pregnancy tissue. It is the same procedure that is commonly used for abortions, and would be threatened by the unnecessarily broad abortion bans that are now becoming our new norm.
From personal experience, I can say that losing a pregnancy is hard enough. I can’t imagine what this situation would have been like if I had been told that the best medical decision for my health is also the one that would be considered criminal and land my doctor in jail.
But now, for many American women, it’s a reality after the Supreme Court struck down Roe vs. Wadedenying that abortion is health care and depriving women of essential protections and access to medical care.
Before running for office, I was a social worker and helped run one of the largest domestic violence shelters in the country. I have witnessed the devastating effects that a dangerous, traumatic or unplanned pregnancy can have on a woman and her family. I witnessed the vicious cycle created by poverty and lack of access to reproductive health care.
Many women I have worked with have been raped, coerced into carrying a pregnancy, coerced into having an abortion, had their contraception sabotaged by their partner, or had their pregnancy compromised by abuse inflicted by their partner. These women had no control over their reproductive health decisions and suffered physically, mentally and emotionally. They were some of the strongest people I have ever met, and when they needed it most, I was glad we could give them support, but it was heartbreaking.
When I came to the state legislature, I never forgot those women. Every vote I cast against cutting funding for reproductive health care – and every restriction or ban on women’s freedoms that I opposed – was deeply personal to me because I knew the very real impact these policies would have.
“The fact that my daughter will enter adulthood with fewer rights than I had 30 years ago is infuriating, but also motivating.”
Most people don’t know that Arizona has a 1901 law that criminalizes almost all abortions, imposes prison terms on doctors, and makes no exceptions for a woman’s health. This law was not enforced when I was expanding our family through Roe vs. Wade federal protection, but that has changed now that deer is overturned.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued an opinion declaring that the 1901 law is now the law of the land in Arizona. This draconian law effectively prohibits all abortions and requires a minimum of two years and up to five years in prison for abortion providers. There are no exceptions for rape or incest.
Another one 1930s state law makes it a crime to advertise birth control. Republican candidates in Arizona are already calling for a ban on contraception and promising tomake sure arizona is the most pro-life state in the union.” A recent study found that Arizona would see the biggest impact of any state in the country if the abortion ban goes into effect. This is what women in my home country will face because the fall of deer no longer guarantees the right to a safe and legal abortion.
I’m running for governor, though when this race started I couldn’t be sure winning would end up being the last line of defense between a total abortion ban and women’s reproductive rights in Arizona. As governor, I will veto any law that restricts women’s access to safe and legal abortion, expand access to birth control and family planning services, and appoint pro -choices to our state’s public health agencies. And I certainly will not allow an abortion ban that was passed before women even had the right to vote to remain the law of the land in this state.
A future without Deer, once theoretical, is now here. The fact that my daughter will enter adulthood with fewer rights than I had 30 years ago is infuriating, but also motivating.
I will do everything in my power as a mother, as a social worker, as a domestic violence advocate, and as a governor to end these unprecedented attacks and secure women’s rights for the next generation. The United States Supreme Court left us no choice but to fight, hard, for this generation and the next.
Katie Hobbs is Arizona’s Secretary of State and Democratic gubernatorial candidate.