‘Arizonans won’t be fooled’ by Kari Lake’s new stance on abortion rights

Republicans spent decades staking out increasingly extreme positions on abortion, while at the same time shooting down family-supporting initiatives like child tax credits, paid parental leave, prenatal care, and government-subsidized child care. But now, as it becomes abundantly clear that their extreme forced-birtherism is marginally less popular than the raw vegan tapas booth at CPAC, they’re trying to pretend they’re not Republicans.

Now the GOP’s conspicuous flip-floppery has found its exemplar in U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake. Lake—a key proponent of the Big Lie who denied the election results in her own losing Arizona gubernatorial bid—wants us to believe she’s had a genuine change of heart when it comes to forcing her would-be constituents to give birth to babies they don’t want. 

In a new interview with NBC News, Lake tried to distance herself from her past forced-birth positions like Quint scurrying away from the shark at the end of “Jaws.” Maybe the interview wasn’t quite as gruesome as that scene, but then “Jaws” wasn’t filmed through six layers of gauze and enough Vaseline to squeeze a Clydesdale through a cat door.

RELATED STORY: Every warning of post-Roe America is coming true, and there’s worse ahead

NBC News:

Kari Lake, the Arizona Republican candidate running for Senate, has proclaimed abortion “the ultimate sin,” said abortion pills should be illegal, and praised laws to restrict reproductive rights in other conservative-led states. In August, Lake was in Ohio to campaign for a ballot measure that would have made it more difficult to pass a constitutional amendment enshrining the right to abortion.

So does that mean she still takes a principled stand against abortion? Because for decades it’s been an article of faith among right-wing Republicans that human life begins at conception, and the destruction of even one human embryo so offends God, He’s constantly working on new deadly natural disasters to punish us with.

Some of these will kill lots of thoughtful, compassionate, demonstrably human Americans, of course, but as they say, you can’t save an embryo without breaking a few eggheads. 

Now, Lake, in an exclusive interview with NBC News, is seeking to moderate her position in a way that acknowledges the tricky spot that Republicans find themselves after the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that enshrined abortion rights nationally.

Lake said she believes Arizona will settle on a rule that offers access to abortion up to 15 to 24 weeks. She called the state’s current 15-week limit “a good law,” and told NBC News that she does not support Arizona’s controversial territorial rule, a near-total ban on abortion that is under dispute in the courts. As recently as November 2023, Lake responded to a question about her previous support for the territorial ban, saying, “I haven’t changed.”

Oh no, you haven’t changed a whit, Kari. Once a liar, always a liar.

Of course, when it comes to Lake’s latest pronouncements, it’s easy enough to read between the lines. 

For instance, Lake is now saying federal lawmakers should maintain a hands-off stance when it comes to abortion—which is pretty convenient considering she’s now running for federal office and would prefer not to answer questions about abortion.

Lake now insists “the states should be deciding” when it comes to abortion restrictions. But when pressed by NBC News, she “declined to weigh in on whether she would vote to protect [in vitro fertilization] nationwide if she is elected.” Let’s just take a wild guess on that one, because if she’s anything like the other lying Republicans currently trying to distance themselves from the Alabama Supreme Court’s recent wacky IVF decision, she almost certainly wouldn’t.

But hey, if Lake has her druthers, rich Republican pro-lifers will still have access to all the reproductive health care they need in the blue state of their choice!

“If one state has a ban, another state will have abortion, and so women are going to be able to access abortion,” she told NBC News.

Meanwhile, Lake is now trying to pretend she cares about supporting children and their families after they’re disgorged into our freshly fascist vale of tears. In fact, portions of her NBC interview almost made her sound like a Democrat!

According to NBC News, she’s now “focused on finding solutions to ease the burden of mothers and pregnant women … and vowed to work across the aisle to help pass baby bonuses, more child tax credits, and paid family leave.”

“What we need to do is really start supporting women and giving them true choices,” she said. “We need to prioritize. We talk about being pro-family, and it’s about time we put the money where our mouth is.”

She added, “Congress has spent almost $200 billion in Ukraine and wanted to send another $75 billion recently. Instead, we can invest that money into American families through baby bonuses, prenatal care, parental resources and classes and child care.”

Well, we already saw a robust expansion of the child tax credit, thanks to President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats. It lifted millions of vulnerable children and families out of poverty—but of course Republicans got rid of it, because, well, they’re Republicans.

So it’s just a wee bit infuriating that they’re now making these empty promises so they can get elected and continue lowering rich people’s taxes. 

RELATED STORY: A national abortion ban is definitely on the 2024 ballot

Of course, Lake’s Potemkin policy prescriptions are just a small tip of the iceberg Republicans are fixing to plow into come November. They’ve yet to successfully thread the needle on abortion rights post-Dobbs, and it’s our sacred mission to keep slapping their hands away when they try.

After all, they’re about to run Donald Trump for president: the guy who eliminated reproductive rights for tens of millions of Americans, brags about having done so, and is currently mulling a national abortion ban of his own. 

But liars gonna lie, and it’s up to us to tell the plain truth: Electing Republicans to federal office will only further endanger reproductive rights—as well as access to birth control. As Daily Kos’ Joan McCarter reported in November, a national abortion ban is definitely on the ballot this year, and a vote for Trump wouldn’t just grease the skids for an even more extreme SCOTUS, it would also immediately threaten Americans’ access to widely used contraceptives.

The Heritage Foundation has set out an ambitious totalitarian agenda for the next Republican president, whoever it might be. Don’t think that women’s bodies are exempt from their plans, not by a long shot. They’ve been working on a plan to use a 19th-century law written to prevent women from obtaining contraceptives, allowing the next Republican administration to outlaw most abortions.

The 1873 Comstock Act prohibits the mailing of contraceptives, “lewd” writings, and any “instrument, substance, drug, medicine, or thing” that could be used in an abortion. While it’s been dormant since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Griswold v. Connecticut decision in 1965, the law is still on the books. It has experienced a revival in the 21st century GOP. Wing-nut U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk cited it when he ruled last spring to block the Food and Drug Administration from allowing mifepristone, the pill used in more than half of U.S. abortions, to be sent through the U.S. mail. That is still being litigated.

Now that 1873 is back in vogue, the Heritage Foundation argues that the next president can act unilaterally to do just what Kacsmaryk ordered. Comstock “unambiguously prohibits mailing abortion drugs,” and a Republican president should “enforce federal law against providers and distributors of [abortion] pills.”

Of course, Republicans’ attempts to pander to independents and suburban women on abortion access could be a double-edged sword. At what point do all their concessions to common sense and political expediency start to demoralize their rabidly right-wing base? If Trump is no longer standing on a debate stage promising to appoint pro-life judges, will true-believing pro-lifers still flock to the polls on his behalf? 

If they do, it will only be because they know Republicans are lying their ruddy arses off about these issues. So how pathetic would it be if they saw through the ruse and we didn’t? We can’t let that happen. Now more than ever, we need to be vigilant and make our (truthful) voices heard.

As the campaign for Rep. Ruben Gallego, Lake’s Democratic opponent, notes, you simply can’t believe Lake—or any Republican, for that matter—when it comes to their public statements on this issue. 

Kari Lake will say anything to get elected, but her actions are clear: She supports banning abortion without exceptions for rape or incest and will ban medication abortion,” Gallego’s campaign spokeswoman Hannah Goss told NBC News. “Arizonans won’t be fooled by her attempts to erase her record.”

Republican strategist Barrett Marson seems to agree. “She can read the polling and see that she has to walk back,” he told NBC News, before conceding that her previous stances on abortion won’t be forgotten.

“2022 Kari Lake is 2024 Kari Lake’s worst enemy.”

Campaign Action

 

Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. 

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