Arizona lawmaker shares abortion plan in speech

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When Eva Burch recently learned she would lose another pregnancy, she felt exhausted.

The Arizona state senator had struggled with fertility for years, suffering a miscarriage more than a decade ago and undergoing an abortion after experiencing a non-viable pregnancy in 2022. She and her husband knew there was a chance that her current pregnancy was not viable. And after a medical provider told her that she would not be able to deliver a healthy baby, she knew she would seek another abortion.

This time, Burch and her husband also made another difficult decision: They would tell the Arizona Senate about their plan to end their pregnancy and how the state’s restrictions on abortion made it more painful.

“I think we both felt like enough was enough,” Burch, a Democrat and mother of two, told the Washington Post.

On Monday, he shared his story in a 10-minute speech on the Senate floor. With a trembling voice, Burch told his colleagues that he had visited a clinic on Friday where he had an invasive ultrasound and was advised on alternatives to abortion, even though he already knew Her pregnancy was not viable. Burch said in the speech that those experiences, required by Arizona law, were “cruel.”

His comments highlighted the standoff over abortion in Arizona, where the procedure is illegal after 15 weeks and almost entirely banned. could be reinstalled while abortion advocates hope to enshrine protections in the state constitution this year.

As Burch held the microphone, some of her Democratic colleagues stood behind her in a show of support. She said she could see some Republican senators leaving the chamber.

Still, Burch kept talking, hoping to show “the reality of how the work we do in this agency impacts people in the real world.”

“There is no one-size-fits-all script for people seeking abortion services, and the legislature has no right to assign one,” he said Monday.

arizona law requires a provider to perform an ultrasound and offer the patient the opportunity to view the image at least 24 hours before performing an abortion. Doctors too required inform patients about alternatives that “a reasonable patient would consider important to the decision of whether or not to have an abortion.”

The Post’s attempts to reach Arizona officials who have sponsored bills limiting abortion were unsuccessful Tuesday. Arizona Majority Leader Sen. Sonny Borrelli (R) also did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Borrelli left the chamber during Burch’s speech before returning to adjourn for the day, according to a Burch spokesperson.

On the Senate floor, Burch described the protocol required by state law as an interference in what she believed was the “safest and most appropriate treatment for me.” She said she was forced to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound that she did not want and then told about alternatives, including parenting and adoption, that did not apply to her situation.

Before being elected to the Arizona Senate, Burch spent more than a decade working as a nurse at a women’s health clinic. That background, she said in her speech, “informs the understanding I have of my situation.”

In 2022, while campaigning for the seat she holds, Burch learned that her pregnancy at the time was not viable. He began having an abortion before his abortion appointment, but was unable to receive the procedure at a hospital because, he said, “I wasn’t bleeding” and his case was not considered critical.

She had an abortion the next day at a clinic. Two weeks later, the Supreme Court annulled Roe v. Wadetaking abortion rights back 50 years.

While speaking on the Senate floor, Burch told The Post she felt terror and adrenaline coursing through her.

“Sharing it that way is not natural for me. It’s uncomfortable for me,” he said Tuesday. “But I also felt strongly that it was the right thing to do.”

Although Burch did not reveal who her providers were or the exact dates she learned of her pregnancy and prognosis, she detailed the difficulty of the past few weeks and said she was the “perfect example of why this relationship should be between patients and suppliers. “

He went on to urge that voters be given a chance to weigh in on abortion in November. Abortion rights groups in the state have been working to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would guarantee the right to abortion until fetal viability, between 22 and 24 weeks.

“The right people for that job are not here in the Arizona legislature,” Burch said. “Arizona residents deserve the freedom to make those decisions for themselves.”

Before Monday’s speech, Burch kept his plans largely private. But minutes before the session began, he told some of his Democratic colleagues what he planned to do on the floor and invited them to support him.

While Burch wanted her Republican colleagues to hear her story and was disappointed to see them leave, she hoped her words could reach beyond the chamber to Arizonans, especially those who have faced difficult decisions or had to navigate the landscape. changing reproductive care.

“I am with them. I appreciate them,” Burch said Monday. “I am them.”

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