Journalists’ Roundtable: Abortion ban repeal, AG request & more

More from this show

It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for another edition of Journalists’ Roundtable. To discuss this week’s top stories, we were joined by Wayne Schutsky and Mark Brodie of KJZZ, and Jim Small of Arizona Mirror.

This week’s Journalists’ Roundtable covered:

  • Abortion ban repealed
  • Attorney General asks Supreme Court to delay abortion
  • Abortion ban mandate
  • Drag Story Hour at the House
  • Schweikert settles lawsuit

Senate repeals abortion ban:

Wayne Schutsky: “So, this has been a story for weeks now, as this repeal has slowly moved through the legislature, which is only meeting once a week. Last week, we saw the House repeal the near-total abortion ban that dates all the way back to The Civil War. And then it made its way to the Senate, kind of on similar lines, with two Republicans, T.J. Shope and Shawnna Bolick, joining Democrats to repeal that ‘antiquated law,’ as they called it, against the wishes of Republican party-mates.”

Jim Small: “Republican Senators really fought tooth and nail and tried to do anything they could procedurally to slow down the process or to derail it entirely. I think at the end of the day, they couldn’t, however, because those two Republicans continually sided with the Democrats to ensure that, A: The vote happened, and B: The bill passed.”

Small (In response to whether it was a surprise that Shope and Bolick sided with repealing the abortion ban): “Well, it wasn’t really a surprise. I mean, yes and no, because you had two Republicans going with Democrats, two Republicans who have both run on pro-life platforms in the past, joining with Democrats to get rid of this law that really was kind of a crowning achievement for the pro-life movement in Arizona in order to roll it back to the 15-week ban that had been in place since 2002. However, both Shawnna Bolick and T.J. Shope, very quickly after the Supreme Court issued its ruling, came out and publicly said, ‘We disagree with this ruling. This is a bad law. It needs to go. We will support to repeal it. It just took us three-four weeks to get there.'”

Mark Brodie: “It was like twenty-ish or so minutes (in reference to a speech Bolick had made on the repeal), which in legislative time for an explanation of vote is almost an eternity. She detailed her pregnancies, experiences she had with needing various medical interventions during her pregnancies, and it was kind of reminiscent of the speech that Senator Eva Burch gave several weeks ago where she described her need to have an abortion and having had that procedure done in the past. A very personal issue, and it seemed like, in Senator Bolick’s case, really trying to make it understood, like why she was voting the way that she was voting.”

Schutsky: “I think everyone was decided on how they felt about that topic (abortion). The gallery above the Senate, where the public can go, was full of anti-abortion folks, and they had multiple outbursts booing and cutting her off, and sighing when she was taking so long. And even when she said this was her actual experience, that didn’t seem to soften that blow-back at all.”

Schutsky: “I got into the chamber a little bit early, and it was already full. And Senator David Farnsworth, a Republican who’s very anti-abortion, was up there with folks leading songs and prayers. And there were a few abortion-advocates up there who were kind of arguing with them, and they’d scream back and forth at each other. I heard a guy, who I assume is a self-professed preacher of some sorts, saying ‘Sit down, Demon’, so it took several staff members coming up there reminding them of the rules of decorum in the Senate before they were able to start. And like I said, there were still plenty of outbursts.”

Brodie (In response to whether there will be repercussions in the Republican caucus following Shope and Bolick’s votes): “There might be; I don’t know. Certainty we saw some punishments doled out in the House, but pretty much immediately after the vote on this bill last week, in the Senate we haven’t seen anything like that. Senator Shope is part of leadership in the Republican caucus. He’s the President Pro Tempore, which means he kind of fills in for the president and sort of manages the day-to-day operations on the floor. They’re both running for re-election. So, I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, but I think fortunately for Republicans who did vote for the repeal on this, all of this came about after the period ended for people to nominate themselves to run for office.”

Schutsky: “I believe Bolick is facing a primary challenge, one of the individuals who was also up to fill the vacancy when Steve Kaiser resigned. He was one of the individuals who ran for Congress last time. He’s never been considered all that serious of a candidate, I don’t think. But this is something you could see being a wedge issue for primary voters that might make that a little more of an interesting primary to watch.”

Small: “This law will not be repealed until 90 days after the legislature finishes its work. When that might be, I don’t know. No one knows because lawmakers and the Governor still have to hammer out a budget deal. That is the biggest thing we’re waiting for them to do. They’ve been talking on it, but whether any progress has been made, it doesn’t seem like there’s been a whole lot. The state is facing a very large budget deficit right now, somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 to $2 billion dollars. They have wildly different ideas of how to close that budget gap, so it’s all contingent on that. And even if and when that gets done, we don’t know when the legislative session is going to end. Could drag on beyond that. Last year, we certainty saw that the budget got done in May, about the time we’re at right now, and they still kept the session open until the end of July. And that meant last years’ laws didn’t go into effect until the end of October.” 

Wayne Schutsky, KJZZ
Mark Brodie, KJZZ
Jim Small, Arizona Mirror

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