Lawmaker's Emails on Abortion Cause Flap with Constituent
Adena Lees had sent a note to Tuscon Republican Representative Terri Proud urging her to oppose a measure that would ban all abortions after 20 weeks. Lees said she was concerned there were no exceptions for things like fetal anomalies.
Proud wrote back saying she thinks the bill is too lax.
"Personally," Proud wrote, "I'd like to make a law that mandates a woman watch an abortion being performed prior to having a surgical procedure."
And Proud said, "until the dead child can tell me that she/he does not feel any pain, I have no intentions of clearing the conscience of the living."
Lees, one of Proud's constituents, told Arizona Public Radio the response surprised her. She said she subscribes to various lists and, when so moved, shoots off an e-mail. Lees said she normally gets a benign response.
"They write back and it's a form letter," sad Lees. "And I know it's a form letter. But's it's respectful. And this was so not respectful, so angry, it felt so violating to me personally."
Proud declined repeated requests for an interview, instead issuing a formal statement saying her response emphasized her concerns about how abortion providers have not been honest with women about the risks of the procedure.
But she was more blunt in a Facebook post, writing, " I don't apologize for e-mails I state are my personal opinion."
Below are copies of the emails between Proud and Lees. Note that it appears the initial e-mail may be a sort of form letter from a lobbying group that individuals can sign and have sent to their legislators. The document is listed as from NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona on behalf of Adena Lees.
Dear Representative Proud,
I am asking you to vote against HB 2036 in the Arizona Senate.
This legislation is harmful to women across Arizona. HB 2036 bans abortion at 20 weeks, and has no exception for women who receive a diagnosis of a fetal anomalies.
The reality is that, while many women can look forward to a safe childbirth, for some, pregnancy can be dangerous, and this bill is harmful to those women. This bill is an unbelievably cruel attempt to block access to care for women and families facing tragic situations.
Banning abortion without adequate exceptions and subjecting Arizonans to new health-car restrictions is out of touch with our values and priorities. These changes will place an even larger burden on families in need of health care and on women's reproductive rights.
I urge you to vote against HB 2036.
Ms. Adena Lees
(dated Mach 3)
Personally I'd like to make a law that mandates a woman watch an abortion being performed prior to having a ``surgical procedure''. If it's not a life it shouldn't matter, if it doesn't harm a woman then she shouldn't care, and don't we want more transparency and education in the medical profession anyway? We demand it everywhere else.
Until the dead child can tell me that she/he does not feel any pain -- I have no intentions of clearing the conscience of the living -- I will be voting YES.
Representative Terri Proud
Arizona House of Representatives
(dated March 5)
D[e]ar Representative Proud:
I am speechless at your response to my email below.
To speak to a constituent of yours in this manner is unacceptable, unprofessional and unethical.
Your response also does not address the request and the bill up for vote. I feel sad and afraid that you appear to be violently against women, children and families who are in tragic situations.
To Live in this state and have a representative who believes and behaves the way yo do is embarrassing and frightening.
Adena Bank Lees
(dated March 7)