Arizona lawmaker calls out 'cruel' laws, sharing her abortion story

On the Senate floor, Eva Burch said she had to go through an unwanted transvaginal ultrasound and hear a list of mandated “absolute disinformation.”
Eva Burch, Democratic Arizona State Senator.
Posted at 3:23 PM, Mar 19, 2024

Arizona state Sen. Eva Burch announced on the Senate floor Monday her plan to have an abortion due to a nonviable pregnancy, highlighting what she sees as Arizona's "cruel" laws.

“After numerous ultrasounds and blood draws, we have determined that my pregnancy is once again not progressing and is not viable, and once again I have scheduled an appointment to terminate my pregnancy. I don’t think people should have to justify their abortions. But I’m choosing to talk about why I made this decision because I want us to be able to have meaningful conversations about the reality of how the work that we do in this body impacts people in the real world,” the Democratic state senator said in a clip from Arizona Capitol Television that was first published by the Arizona Mirror.

Burch didn't mention how far along she is in her pregnancy, just that she found out she was pregnant a few weeks ago. In Arizona, abortion is banned after 15 weeks, and like everyone else in the state, Burch said she had to schedule two appointments: one for counseling and assessment, and another at least 24 hours later to proceed with the actual abortion, which are requirements by law.

During the first appointment, Burch said she had to go through an unwanted transvaginal ultrasound and hear a mandated list of what she described as “absolute disinformation,” along with a list of alternative choices like adoption, despite the grim reality that her fetus had no possibility of survival and none of those alternatives were viable for her situation.

“From where I sat, the only reason I had to hear those things was in a cruel and really uninformed attempt by outside forces to shame, and coerce, and frighten me into making a different decision other than the one that I knew was right for me,” Burch said. “There's no one-size-fits-all script for people seeking abortion care, and the legislature doesn't have any right to assign one. I'm a perfect example of why this relationship should be between patients and providers.”

Toward the end of her speech, Burch said that the current Republican-led laws “can serve to intimidate doctors, and it muddies the waters when they're trying to make complex decisions in situations that are really volatile,” and that all the legislature has done is “nurture distrust and confusion in the relationship between patients and providers for people who are vulnerable.”