Sore Winners

Center for Arizona Policy wasn’t around when the state’s pre-Roe law was in effect in 1973, and I wasn’t sure I would be around to see it reinstated.  But thanks to this week’s Arizona Supreme Court ruling, I can gratefully say: Abortion is illegal in Arizona except to save the life of the mother. Granted, there is a stay on the law for at least two weeks and probably 60 days total to give time for abortion activists to pursue constitutional challenges to the law. For now, the Court upheld the most pro-life law in state history on Tuesday and that is reason to rejoice!

The Court ruled 4-2 to uphold the pre-Roe law. Justices John R. Lopez IV, Clint Bolick, James P. Beene, and Kathryn H. King formed the majority. Vice Chief Justice Ann A. Scott Timmer wrote a dissenting opinion, joined by Chief Justice Robert M. Brutinel.

The historic ruling is a just one, not only for the sanctity of human life, but for the rule of law.

The pre-Roe law was in effect in Arizona when Roe v Wade was decided in January of 1973. The law was reaffirmed again in the late 70’s.  Only Roe kept our law from being enforced. In addition, the state Legislature had several opportunities to repeal the law and never did. With Roeoverturned, the law should rightly go back into effect. The majority agreed, setting off a shameful firestorm. The Governor, Attorney General, abortion activists, lawmakers, and the news media lashed out with absurd claims, some demanded the law be immediately repealed, the AG swore never to uphold the law, and even several pro-life lawmakers turned on a dime in fear of losing their next election.

By midday Wednesday, the House floor was in chaos with motions to repeal the law, Democrat lawmakers screaming at the Republicans and chanting “shame on you” to those who support the pre-Roe law and those who have called themselves pro-life but are running scared in an election year. Decorum was lost and the House adjourned. Similar action was tried in the Senate and failed – for now.

The behavior was theater for the news reporters and unacceptable for state lawmakers. House Speaker Ben Toma called them out on it, while highlighting their gruesome obsession with abortion, “One thing is clear: Democrats are so eager to enshrine in our state constitution a right to kill unborn children up until birth with virtually no restrictions. Under the Democrats’ view, partial birth abortions would be allowed, and minors could get abortions on demand without parental consent or a court order. That’s not healthcare or reproductive care. The Democrats’ approach to this issue is unconscionable, it’s extreme, and Arizonans do not agree with such an unrestricted right to abortion that would jeopardize women’s health and safety.”

This has only just begun. It seems everyone with a dog in the fight is jockeying for position and political optics. The news media lap it up, using provocative headlines to stir the pot and portray abortion as a “right.” Abortion activists use the ruling to deceitfully offer the extreme abortion amendment as a solution.

Much can happen over the coming weeks, and we expect lawmakers will make some kind of move with the election top of mind. I pray it is not at the expense of the unborn and their mothers. But we can see the panic in some lawmakers who fear the issue of abortion will jeopardize their seats.

Here is a sampling of responses from lawmakers and candidates after the ruling came down Tuesday: Kari Lake, candidate for U.S. Senate, Congressman Juan Ciscomani, Congressman David SchweikertSenator T.J. Shope,  Rep. Matt Gress, Rep. Shawnna Bolick and others called for action. Rep. Alex Kolodin, Rep. Austin Smith, Senator Jake Hoffman, and others praised the ruling.

I assure you, CAP will never back down in the face of hostility. The lives of precious unborn babies and their mothers are at stake. This is a fight we are ready to have. We expect elected officials who claim to be pro-life to put lives first and stand together, even when it is hard.

This is a battle. It is a political, legal, and moral battle. We must never lose sight of the goal and never waver in our efforts to save as many lives as possible and protect as many women as possible from the harms of abortion.

Please pray for the lawmakers as they navigate rough waters and wrestle with short- and long-term goals. Pray for courage, and an outcome that protects the most vulnerable.

And don’t fail to thank God for this state Supreme Court victory, regardless of where it leads. Every pro-life Arizonan has reason to be grateful for this historic and lifesaving ruling.


  • Watch here  my interview on Arizona Horizon about how the ruling is a good example of justices rightly refusing to legislate from the bench and what candidates are now saying.
  • Read here one of the better news reports on the ruling.
  • Listen here to my discussion with Seth Leibsohn about what the ruling means and what happens next.
  • Listen here to my conversation with James T. Harris about the aftermath of the ruling.
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