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Arizona GOP strategy document implores party to show ‘Republicans have a plan’ on abortion

PHOENIX – Republican state lawmakers in Arizona are considering passing alternative ballot measures that compete with a proposed constitutional amendment expanding abortion rights in the state, according to a PowerPoint presentation obtained by NBC News, as the Republican Party faces the fallout from a ruling by the State Supreme Court upholding a ruling by the State Supreme Court. almost total abortion ban.

The strategy document includes a slide titled: “PHASE 2: SEND VOTERS TWO OTHER OPTIONS IN CONFLICT WITH THE AAA INITIATIVE,” referring to the Arizona for Abortion Access ballot measure, which aims to enshrine abortion rights in the state Constitution anchor through the viability of the fetus and expand the space for exceptions on a large scale.

The document outlines a plan to provide voters with alternatives to the Arizona for Abortion Access ballot measure, presenting options for other constitutional amendments such as the “15 Week Reproductive Care and Abortion Act and the Heartbeat Protection Act.”

And the document also discusses offering voters an option for a limit on abortions after 15 weeks, which would effectively be a stricter ban.

“Can reduce the 15-week law to a 14-week law,” the presentation reads. “In reality it was a 14-week law disguised as a 15-week law, because it would only allow abortion until the beginning of the 15th week,” it continues.

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The document also acknowledges that both deadlines represent an “arbitrary number of weeks” of pregnancy and that it would be considered a disadvantage to introduce a measure in the state constitution that “solidifies” that number.

The Arizona state legislature will reconvene Wednesday as pressure mounts from Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, to repeal Arizona’s 1864 abortion ban.

State House Speaker Ben Toma said in a statement in response to the presentation: “The document presents ideas prepared for internal discussion and consideration within the caucus. I have publicly stated that we are looking at options to address this issue, and this is just part of that.”

Dawn Penich, spokesperson for Arizona for Abortion Access, the coalition of reproductive rights organizations including the ACLU of Arizona and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, said the document “shows once again why Arizonans are denied our most basic and personal rights can be let down. hands of politicians in the state legislature.

The Republican PowerPoint also outlines a plan to “constitutionalize existing laws” on the books in Arizona in response to the abortion policy debate. That includes “banning anyone who is not a licensed physician from performing an abortion,” and banning “discriminatory abortions” or “banning doctors from performing an abortion when a doctor knows that the target is based on genetic defects or race or gender.’

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The purpose of putting forward these proposals, according to the document, is: “Change story – Republicans have a plan!” It says the Republican Party must give voters “something other than the extreme abortion-on-demand AAA initiative” to elect in November. The 24-week ballot measure has received a lot of attention in the past week after the state Supreme Court ruled that Arizona’s near-total 1864 ban was enforceable.

The PowerPoint presentation ends with a slide featuring a meme of the late television host Seth Meyers and the text: “BOOM. So simple.”

In Arizona, a proposed constitutional amendment could end up on the ballot through a citizen-initiated process that relies on gathering signatures or through a referral by the state legislature.

The measure seeking to enshrine abortion access in the state constitution would go through the petition signature route, while the proposals discussed in the Republican strategy document would be referred to the ballot by the Republican Party-controlled Legislature.

The document appears to outline a number of contingencies.

For example, the “Phase 1” options appear to describe a situation in which Republican lawmakers would introduce a proposed amendment that would protect lawmakers’ authority to “make laws rationally related to the promotion and preservation of life and to the protection of health and safety of pregnant women. “

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The document describes this approach as “complimentary (not inconsistent)” with the proposed abortion rights amendment – ​​and that if both were to emerge and pass in November, “courts” would be forced “to consider both when interpreting the constitutional right to abortion.”

The document also advises Republican lawmakers to choose titles for their “Phase 1” measures along the lines of the “Protecting Pregnant Women and Safe Abortions Act,” the “Arizona Abortion and Reproductive Care Act,” and the “Arizona Abortion Protection Act.” .

Meanwhile, the document also includes an “ALTERNATIVE TO PHASE 2,” under which lawmakers would refer to a “conditional entry into force” of the “Phase 2 proposal.” Under this approach, the “Phase 2” proposal “will not take effect unless the Arizona Abortion Access Act is passed” during the 2024 general election.

It was not immediately clear from the document whether it was a “Phase 2” approach, referencing ballot measures that “contradict” the abortion rights proposal. would be considered concurrently or as an alternative to “Phase 1”.

However, the document includes a proposed timeline stating that there are “REASONS to proceed with Phase 1, and then consider Phase 2 or conditional determination,” arguing that this “puts Democrats in a defensive position.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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