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Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is again attacking her opponent Katie Hobbs, this time for Hobbs’ claim that Lake wants to criminalize a procedure that woman often need after a miscarriage.
“When I had a miscarriage, I needed surgery to protect my own health,” Hobbs said in a tweet. “That lifesaving treatment was the same procedure that’s commonly used for abortions — a procedure that Kari Lake wants to criminalize. As Governor, I won’t let that happen.”
Lake’s campaign responded by asking its followers to report Hobbs’ tweet as misinformation, adding that conflating abortion and miscarriages could do harm to the public.
“Equating a D&C with an abortion?” Lake’s campaign tweeted. “Katie is willing to falsify her own tragedy & basic medical facts to scare women into voting for her.”
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Dilation and curettage, more commonly known as D&C, is a medical procedure that refers to the dilation of the cervix and surgical removal of part of the lining of the uterus, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is commonly used to clear the tissue lining the uterus following both intentional abortions and miscarriages.
It’s true that Lake has proposed no policies to outlaw the procedure specifically, but Lake is a proponent of strict abortion laws — including a near total abortion ban on the books in Arizona since 1864.
Lake has called abortion “the ultimate sin” and said abortion is the “execution” of babies, and she has promised to enact anti-abortion legislation if she’s elected governor. She hasn’t always been clear in her stance on the issue, saying that she supported exceptions for rape and incest, while also backing existing laws that don’t include those exceptions.
While it doesn’t seem that any legislators at the state or national level are looking to ban D&Cs outright, some women in Texas who were seeking care after miscarriages have faced difficulty in finding a provider to perform the procedure because of that states abortion ban after six weeks of gestation.
Last year, a woman living in Texas suffered a miscarriage during her first trimester of pregnancy, The New York Times reported. A large hospital in the Dallas-Fort Worth area performed a D&C to remove the tissue from her uterus. The procedure can be less painful and emotionally distressing than allowing a miscarriage to evacuate naturally.
Only eight months later, after the six-week ban had become law, the same woman had another first-trimester miscarriage, and the same hospital refused to give her a D&C.
It’s unclear what kind of abortion restrictions will become law in Arizona, as the state waits for a Pima County judge to rule on a 158-year-old abortion near-total abortion ban that Attorney General Mark Brnovich is attempting to reinstate.
That ban was blocked in 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade made abortion a constitutional right. After the Supreme Court overturned Roe in June, it’s now up to the state to decide between enforcing the Civil War-era law and a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy that the state Legislature passed in the spring. The 15-week ban is set to go into effect Sept. 24, and a judgment in the historical case is expected any day now.
The 1864 law and the 15-week ban allow exceptions to save the life of the mother.
Neither law that will potentially be Arizona law in the near future lays out the specifics of which kinds of procedures are allowed and when a doctor can intervene to save the mother’s life. And that makes doctors nervous.
An abortion provider under the 1864 law would face a mandatory prison sentence of 2 to 5 years, while under the 15-week ban, providers would face a felony charge and have their medical license revoked.
“There are so many gray areas right now and there was literally no guidance given on what we can and should be able to do for our patients,” Dr. Cadey Harrel, the Arizona lead for the Committee to Protect Health Care and a family physician in Tucson, said during a media call in June.
Reporter Gloria Rebecca Gomez contributed to this article.
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