Kari Lake returns to comment on ‘rare and legal’ abortions

A spokesman for Kari Lake said Tuesday that the Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate did not want to suggest that abortion should be legal, saying he is not calling for changes to abortion laws weeks after a judge ruled that prosecutors can enforce almost complete ban on termination of pregnancy.

In her most extensive comments on abortion since the ruling last month, Lake told a Phoenix radio host that it should be “rare and legal” before saying twice that it should be “rare but safe.” he said he only wanted to say “rare but safe”.

“You know, it would be really great if abortion was rare and legal – like they used to call it, remember? Rare but safe, rare but safe, I think that’s what they said,” Lake told conservative host Mike Broomhead on KTAR radio. “It would be really great if that were the case. But that’s not what they want, Mike. They don’t want rare but safe.”

Lake appeared to be referring to former President Bill Clinton’s famous rant that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.”

Arizona doctors stopped performing abortions late last month after a judge in Tucson ruled that prosecutors can enforce a law dating back to 1864 that bans abortions unless necessary to save a woman’s life. Arizona also has a law passed this year banning abortions after 15 weeks, creating speculation about what is allowed.

Trumble said either a total ban or a 15-week law would fit Lake’s model of abortion being “rare but safe.”

“‘Rare but safe’ will apply to whatever the current law means,” Trumble said.

He said Lake has no plans to ask the Legislature to change abortion laws and declined to say whether he would sign legislation to expand access, saying he would not engage in “what ifs.”

Asked in the radio interview whether she would support allowing abortion in cases of rape and incest — both prohibited under the comprehensive abortion ban and the 15-week law — Lake demurred.

“That’s a very small percentage of abortions,” he said. He said her Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, took the most extreme position, accusing her of supporting unrestricted abortion. Hobbs says abortion decisions should be made by women and their doctors without government interference.

Lake has spoken positively of Arizona’s total abortion ban, which she called “a great law that’s already on the books.” He called abortion “the ultimate sin,” said abortion pills should be illegal and that he would sign a bill banning abortions as soon as fetal heart activity is detected, usually around six weeks’ gestation and before many women know that she is pregnant.

Democrats have seized on the ruling, which has reinvigorated the issue ahead of next month’s midterm elections. Democratic lawmakers sent a letter Tuesday asking Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to call a special session of the Legislature to repeal the 1864 abortion ban.

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