Advocates say Hobbs win is a victory for abortion rights
The future of abortion access in Arizona is still uncertain, but abortion rights advocates are celebrating Democrat Katie Hobbs’ election to the governor’s office as a victory for their cause.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona president and CEO Brittany Fonteno believes abortion rights were a crucial factor bringing Arizonans to the polls this year. She said about 80% of candidates her organization endorsed won their races. And she expects Katie Hobbs’ election will mark a turning point for abortion legislation in the state.
“While we still have anti-abortion politicians likely to be in the majority in the statehouse, the power of the veto pen cannot be overstated," Fonteno told KJZZ News. "Katie Hobbs is going to ensure that there are no new laws put forth by the Legislature that would further restrict our rights when it comes to reproductive health care. That's going to go a long way."
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has signed multiple pieces of abortion-related legislation into law since taking office in 2015. Most recently, he signed a bill that bans the procedure after 15 weeks' gestation in Arizona. That bill was sponsored by Republican state Sen. Nancy Barto, who on Tuesday conceded her race for reelection.
The Arizona Court of Appeals will hear arguments at the end of this month in a case that could put a near-total abortion ban from the Civil War era back into effect in Arizona. But Fonteno feels confident that the ban would now be harder to enforce with Hobbs as governor or if Democrat Kris Mayes is elected attorney general. Mayes held a small lead over Republican opponent Abe Hamadeh as of Tuesday, but that race has not yet been called.
"This is a really big deal in Arizona," Fonteno said. “We are definitely going to have allies in the governor’s office and hopefully in the Attorney General’s Office as well, and so that could really be incredibly powerful to help with curbing some of the fallout from a potential ban on abortion."