Kari Lake just pivoted on abortion (somebody must be reading the polls)

Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake speaks during the Turning Point Action event at South Mountain Pavilion at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler on Aug. 27, 2022.
Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake speaks during the Turning Point Action event at South Mountain Pavilion at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler on Aug. 27, 2022.

Well, it took awhile, but it appears that Kari Lake is learning from the master.

Blake Masters, that is, the Senate candidate who, upon winning his Republican primary, promptly gave a scrub-a-dub to his views on abortion.

Like Masters, Kari Lake has been a stanch advocate of outlawing abortion. Or she was.

There she was last year, extolling the virtues of Texas’ heartbeat bill, which bans abortion after detection of a heartbeat, about six weeks -- even in the case of rape or incest. Lake called for Arizona to join Texas in having what was then the most restrictive abortion law in the land

“I call on the Arizona Legislature to put a carbon copy of Texas S.B. 8 on the Governor’s Desk,” she tweeted in September 2021. “If my Predecessor refuses to sign it, I will do so in a Heartbeat.”

There she was in January, promising never to back down.

"ALL Baby Lives Matter — every single heartbeat is a gift from God & we will never stop fighting to protect life." she tweeted. "We must make Arizona a Sanctuary State for the unborn."

There she was in February, rooting for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade so that Arizona’s territorial-era law – the one that criminalizes abortion even in cases of rape and incest – could make a comeback.

“I have a good feeling that they’re going to do the right thing,” she said of the Supreme Court during a Republican candidate forum. “We have a great law on the books right now, if that happens, we will be a state where we will not be taking the lives of our unborn anymore.”

In June, Lake’s spokesman said Lake is “pro-life but supports exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother" but he declined to elaborate. Meanwhile, she has called abortion  "the ultimate sin" and "murder."

There was Lake in July, saying she supports that territorial-era law that mandates a two- to five-year prison sentence for anyone who provides an abortion to a victim of rape or incest or to anyone other than a dying girl or woman.

“My personal belief is that all life matters. All life counts, and all life is precious, and I don’t believe in abortion,” she said during the Republican gubernatorial debate. “I think the older law is going to take and is going to go into effect. That’s what I believe will happen.”

Lake also said that abortion pills should be outlawed -- the ones used by roughly half of the Arizona women who obtained abortions in 2020.

And there she was even just a few weeks ago, after a Pima County judge lifted the 49-year-old injunction that blocked enforcement of that territorial-era abortion ban.

"I'm pro-life,” Lake said on Fox News. “I've never backed away from that and never will.”

Until now, that is.

On Tuesday, Lake told KTAR's Mike Broomhead that abortion should be legal in some instances.

“It would be really wonderful if abortion was rare and legal, the way they said it before,” Lake told Broomhead, referring to Bill Clinton and other Democrats who called for abortion to be “safe, legal and rare.”

"Remember ‘rare, but safe; rare, but safe?’ " Lake added. "I think that’s what they said. Be really wonderful if that’s how it turned out.”

It’d be … wonderful?

Unfortunately, Broomhead didn't follow up with a question to clarify what appears to be a shift from the position staked out by Lake for well over a year.

Her spokesman, Ross Trumble, didn’t respond to my questions about her apparent change of heart on that "great" territorial-era law or her belief that "ALL Baby Lives Matter." But he later tried to walk back Lake's comment, telling the Associated Press she didn't mean to use the word "legal."

Sure, after more than a year of being staunchly anti-abortion, the word "legal" just popped, unbidden, out of her mouth.

More likely, it has something to do with public opinion polls that show the vast majority of Arizonans believe abortion should be legal up to some point. And that, with just seven days until early ballots arrive. the issue is at the top of many voters' minds.

And so when confronted with a choice between the life of the unborn and the life of her gubernatorial campaign …

Reach Roberts at laurie.roberts@arizonarepublic.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LaurieRoberts.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Kari Lake just pivoted on abortion (somebody's reading the polls)