Arizona Senator Eva Burch announces abortion

Photo of author


PHOENIX (AP) — A pregnant Arizona lawmaker who revealed in a state Senate speech that she planned to have an abortion says she wanted to share with her colleagues and the public the practical effects of abortion restrictions passed over the years.

Democratic Sen. Eva Burch of Mesa told fellow lawmakers in a speech Monday that she was having an abortion because her pregnancy is no longer viable. The first-term lawmaker, who previously worked as a nurse practitioner at a women’s health clinic, described a “difficult journey” with fertility and recounted a miscarriage she had suffered.

Burch, 43, also criticized the restrictions in Arizona as misplaced, saying state law requires an ultrasound that her doctor did not order and that she was given what she considers misinformation about alternatives to abortion.

“It was an opportunity for me to highlight what we’re experiencing here in Arizona and how the laws we passed in Arizona really impact people in practice and not just in theory,” Burch said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press in his legislative office.

The abortion Burch is planning would not be the first. While running for office in 2022, Burch said that he had undergone an abortion because that pregnancy was not viable and even mentioned on the campaign trail that he had undergone the procedure.

Burch, who previously gave birth to two children, said she understands why women who have abortions keep that information private. But she said she wants the public to know that the struggles she has experienced are common.

Burch, who is running for re-election this year, also acknowledged that he wanted to shed light on a proposed ballot measure that would create a constitutional right to abortion.

“If the Arizona Legislature is not going to work in reality, then the people of Arizona need to have the opportunity to be able to take control of some of those decisions for themselves,” Burch said.

Two abortion bills proposed this year by Democrats have not received committee hearings, including one that would repeal a pre-statehood law that criminalizes nearly all abortions.

The Arizona Supreme Court is considering destiny of the 1864 law. In a 2022 ruling, a lower court concluded that doctors cannot be charged for performing an abortion in the first 15 weeks of pregnancy because other Arizona laws over the years have allowed them to perform abortions.

Aside from their efforts in the Arizona Legislature, abortion rights advocates began pushing last summer to ask voters to create a constitutional right to abortion. If proponents collect enough signatures, Arizona would become the last state to put the question directly to voters.

The proposed constitutional amendment would guarantee the right to abortion until the fetus can survive outside the womb, typically around 24 weeks of pregnancy. It would also allow subsequent abortions to save the mother’s life or protect her physical or mental health.

Organizers of the effort will have to collect 384,000 signatures from registered voters by July to get the question on the November ballot.

Leave a comment