Arizona Republicans Want to Throw My Doctor In Jail

Eva Burch is a Democratic state Senator in Arizona.

Last month, I had a safe, legal abortion in Arizona. Today we are all tied up in white-knuckled knots, wondering if we’re going to start throwing doctors in jail for the care they gave me. People of America: We need to talk.

I am an Arizona state Senator. I’m also a nurse practitioner and a mother of two. My husband and I live in Mesa, where we look after my sons, our two dogs, and a very well-fed cat. Okay, fine, we have three cats.

We were not trying to get pregnant. We had two failed pregnancies in the last two years and had stopped actively trying. But I wasn’t on birth control either and the discovery that I was pregnant brought on those hope-induced giggles that you try to stifle for fear of a jinx.

One ultrasound after another, the disappointment set in. The pregnancy wasn’t viable. Again. I had a rather nasty experience with my miscarriage in 2022 and I didn’t want to go through it again. We scheduled an abortion. I felt very much at peace. For a moment, anyway.

At my first doctor’s visit with Planned Parenthood, the doctor and I discussed that my pregnancy was not viable, and I shared my bloodwork and ultrasounds with her. In spite of this, she was required to ask me why I was having an abortion. She was required to tell me that I could consider adoption or parenting instead of abortion. She was required to tell me that if I chose to continue my pregnancy, the father would be required to provide me with financial support. She was required to give me another transvaginal ultrasound. She was required to ask me if I wanted to look at it.

I stopped feeling peaceful and another feeling crept up my stomach and through my spine and settled into the part of my brain that I normally reserve for bullies, bad drivers, and long lines. It was anger. Not anger at the medical provider, who was as much a prisoner as I was, but angry at the politicians who had clearly put laws in place to force doctors to try to coerce their patients out of having an abortion, regardless of circumstance.

My abortion took place less than three weeks before the Arizona Supreme Court handed down its decision to uphold a complete abortion ban from 1864. The only exception it provides is if the pregnant patient is actively dying. 

Now Republican legislators who have been pushing an anti-abortion agenda for decades are scrambling to backtrack, in an obvious act of political desperation. At any point in time, the Arizona legislature could have repealed this ban and stopped the clock on the Supreme Court’s activities. The bill to repeal the ban, sponsored by state House Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton (D), still sits collecting dust as Republicans dance around the issue and dream up excuses.  

It’s an interesting conundrum for Arizona Republican lawmakers. They know this ban is horribly unpopular and that it is going to cost them politically. They don’t want to allow a Democratic bill to succeed in solving the problem, but they don’t want to anger their base voters by sponsoring a solution themselves. 

There’s also the fact that most of these Republicans are dealing with crippling cowardice against the “Freedom Caucus” of the Arizona legislature. This vocal minority of extremists pulls the strings on who gets challenged in the next election cycle, and they have already put out a glowing statement of support for the ban. To challenge them is to play roulette with reelection.

Instead, Republican leaders are throwing out their usual nonsense, saying that Democrats want unlimited partial birth abortions on demand all the way up to the ninth month of pregnancy. Not only will you find no record of Arizona Democratic legislators ever supporting such an idea, but there are no abortion providers in this state or the country who provide such services. It proves that the Republican strategy continues to be: “When you can’t win, lie.”

There is only one solution to this abortion problem, and it lives in the November ballot box. We have to elect pro-choice candidates up and down the ticket, from the White House to the state legislatures. The facts of the day remain that this means voting for Democrats. 


Until the Republicans are willing to release their ransom of this issue, abortion rights will continue to erode all across the country.

There seems to be only one language these politicians speak. The risk of losing power is all they will respond to and the time to make that move is now. I will keep telling my story, consequences be damned, and I’ll see you in November.


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