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Repeal of Arizona's abortion ban is a win and a loss for Democrats

One of the ironies of politics is that you are often punished for it fixing a problem. The most famous example of this is Winston Churchill, who was promptly thrown out of office after his victory in World War II in 1945. No good deed goes unpunished; Once you solve our problems, we can no longer use you.

Today's Republican Party seems to understand this concept (think Donald Trump's sabotage of border security to keep the issue alive), and Arizona Democrats, at least apparently, do not.

In case you missed it, the Arizona Senate voted Wednesday to repeal the 1864 abortion ban that the Arizona Supreme Court reinstated last month. All 14 Democrats (with the help of two Republicans voted to repeal it, and Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs immediately signaled she would sign the bill.

Now let's set aside the seriousness of this issue for a moment and simply consider a hard-hitting political question: whether abortion is a winning issue for Democrats And Joe Biden, wouldn't it be better for them if voters had to live with this Civil War-era law at least until November?

To put it cynically, wouldn't it have been politically wiser for Democrats to take their time repealing this “Republican” abortion law, just as Trump's Republicans prevented the border from being set before November?

If Democrats wanted to keep their progressive base engaged, they could have done that — and they could have been more devious than the Republicans, who telegraphed that they were intentionally destroying border security for political reasons. In fact, Democrats could have secretly prevented the repeal of the 1864 law while blaming Republicans for creating and prolonging the problem.

House Republicans in Arizona blocked initial attempts to repeal the 1864 ban. Therefore, it would have been very easy for Democrats to delay this and avoid solving the problem, a la Trump and the border crisis.

Of course, even before the repeal of Prohibition in 1864, Democrats seemed eager to ensure that the abortion issue did not become too heated.

Immediately after the court's ruling was announced, Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, said she would not prosecute abortion cases under the ban. In doing so, Mayes debunked the idea that restrictive abortion laws and court decisions are so important. It doesn't matter that enforcing the law is their real job.

Regardless of what you think about abortion or immigration, the contrast between the way these two parties responded to developments that were viewed as “emergencies” by the base of both sides is telling.

Republicans prioritized Trump's election chances in 2024; They decided they preferred the immigration issue to political victory. Conversely, Democrats made the opposite choice: They prioritized securing abortion rights today over keeping the issue until November.

Will it cost them? “Abortion rights are very popular,” they say CNN's Harry Entenand “Biden is much more trusted than Trump on abortion. “If this election is about abortion,” he tweeted Thursday, “Biden wins.”

“The problem?” Enten continues: The election is currently about the economy [and] Immigration. Issues where Trump dominates.” If Democrats want the election to be about abortion, they would be wise to make sure the issue is at the top of voters’ agendas in November. And correcting Republican mistakes in this regard seems to amount to interrupting their opponents while they are in the middle of committing political suicide.

Of course, there is something to be said for doing the right thing for your constituents and not playing games. In this regard, Arizona Democrats deserve credit for actually working to implement their values.

I'm tempted to give the Republicans who wanted to uphold the 1864 law the same credit for their loyalty to their beliefs. But even as a center-right columnist who opposes abortion in most cases, it's hard to support a law that was passed before Arizona was even a state.

Instead of defending what is indefensible (in the eyes of most mainstream Americans), Arizona Republicans should craft a compassionate law that aims to save babies and allows for broader exemptions that are at least mainstream -Consensus could lead.

Case in point: One of the two Republicans who voted with Democrats to repeal the law was Shawnna Bolick, a Trump abortion opponent. She gave a speech in which she revealed details about her previous miscarriages: “Having a D&C in the first trimester because the baby wasn't viable was very hard.” She then asked: “Would Arizona's pre-roe Did the law allow me to undergo this medical procedure even though my life was not in danger at the time?”

Republicans would do well to remember that there are a lot of Shawnna Bolicks in swing states.

Events in Arizona suggest that at least some Republicans have not given up governing; and in at least one state there are politicians willing to resist the pull of partisan incentives. The question now is whether they will regret it.

But fear not, progressives; This issue is still politically explosive. The repeal won't take effect for another 90 days, which could give it additional foothold in Arizona. Additionally, there will likely be abortion rights initiatives in Arizona this fall.

And what's more, the vote in Arizona coincided perfectly with the passage of Florida's six-week abortion ban.

When national Democrats look for examples to make the abortion issue relevant in November, Arizona won't be the only game in town.

Anna Harden

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