How Kari Lake has shifted and changed her abortion stance

In 2022, Republican candidate Kari Lake, who was vying to be governor, called abortion the “ultimate sin” and praised a 160-year-old Arizona measure that virtually outlawed abortion as “a great law.”

But in recent weeks, as it became clear the Arizona Supreme Court was nearing a decision on the fate of that law, Lake, now vying to be a U.S. senator, has called law “out of step with Arizonans.”

Lake, a former television news anchor who narrowly lost her 2022 gubernatorial race to Gov. Katie Hobbs (D), has been striking a different tone on reproductive rights as the issue shapes up to be an animating force this election cycle. The spotlight has been strong on Arizona since the state Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a near-total ban that was enacted even before Arizona became a state can be enforced.

The ruling, which is not yet in effect, would outlaw the procedure except to save a pregnant person’s life. Health-care providers who perform abortions could be punished with prison time, though Arizona’s attorney general, Democrat Kris Mayes, has vowed not to enforce any ban. The decision has sent shock waves throughout the battleground state and could jeopardize Republican hopes of picking up a seat in the U.S. Senate. Lake is expected to face Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego in the November general election.

Since Tuesday’s ruling, Lake has called on Hobbs and the GOP-led state legislature to come together on a solution. In a 5½-minute campaign video released Thursday, Lake sought to appeal to the majority of the state, saying the near-total abortion ban — which invokes an 1864 law that states that anyone who administers an abortion could face a mandatory prison sentence of two years to five years — is “out of line with where the people of this state are.”

In the video, Lake declared that if elected to the Senate, she would not support federal funding for abortions nor would she support a federal abortion ban. She expressed support for abortion exceptions in the case of rape, incest or threat to the life of the pregnant person, and also noted that she wants other those who are pregnant to have “more choices” — but did not get into specifics.

“I chose life, but I’m not every woman. I want to make sure that every woman who finds herself pregnant has more choices so that she can make that choice that I made,” she said.

Along with outlining her position on abortion, Lake also expressed her support for what she called a “baby bonus” — providing tax incentives for individuals who get married and lowering their tax rate for each child born. Throughout the video, Lake repeatedly associated her stance on the abortion issue with former president Donald Trump — who continues to poll ahead of President Biden in Arizona.

When asked for comment, Lake’s campaign referred The Washington Post to the video posted Thursday.

Trump has found himself having to shift on abortion, especially this election cycle. Just a day before the Arizona ruling came out, Trump said states should make their own decisions about regulating abortion. But then he criticized the Arizona court for reinstating an abortion law he said goes too far.

Lake was also among a long list of GOP politicians who had declared that they believe life begins at conception.

But ever since Roe v. Wade was overturned nationally two years ago, Arizona has been confronted with how to change its laws. Since December 2022, the state has allowed doctors to provide abortions up to 15 weeks into a pregnancy, with exceptions for medical emergencies.

Then came an Alabama Supreme Court ruling in February that declared that frozen embryos should be considered children, prompting many providers of in vitro fertilization to temporarily halt the procedure as they weighed the consequences of the decision. The Alabama ruling prompted many Republicans — including Lake and members of Congress who had signed on to legislation declaring that life begins at…

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