The Arizona resident, whose routine email to her legislator resulted in a reply later called a "hodgepodge of crazy" by another lawmaker, said she is "scared" that her representative wants women to watch abortions before having the procedure.
Tucson resident Adena Bank Lees confirmed that she sent state Rep. Terri Proud (R-Tucson) an email in early March asking Proud to oppose a bill outlawing abortions in the state after 20 weeks. The email was prompted by an email blast from the pro-choice organization NARAL asking members to lobby Arizona legislators to vote against the bill.
Proud sent Bank Lees an email saying that she was supporting the bill and said that she wanted women seeking abortions to be mandated to watch an abortion first. That response touched off a series of emails between Bank Lees and Proud, including one sarcastic reply from Proud.
"I expected a form email back like I got from everyone else," Bank Lees told HuffPost. "I was shocked, I felt violated. It was angry and hateful. I had to write her back."
Proud's email to Bank Lees, dated March 5 and sent from her state email account read:
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.
Bank Lees said she contacted Proud's Phoenix office to confirm the email and said a woman named Sue told her that Proud had asked her to send that response to anyone who emailed asking her to oppose the abortion bill. The electronic signature on the emails Bank Lees provided to HuffPost identify Proud's assistant as Sue Adams.
Voicemails left for Proud and Adams at Proud's Phoenix office have not been returned. Bank Lees emailed Proud back saying that she expected a better response from her legislator.
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 you do is embarrassing and frightening.
Proud replied to Bank Lees' response on the morning of March 8 with three words.
"You're kidding right?" Proud wrote from her state email.
Bank Lees said she is baffled by the whole exchange, and did not know who to contact to handle it, finally reaching out to the media. Proud's abortion-watching proposal touched off a firestorm among Arizona Democrats: Rep. Matt Heinz (D-Tucson) called the email a "hodgepodge of crazy" and Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-Phoenix) said that Proud was "going off the deep end."
Proud issued a statement this week regarding her email.
"For too long, Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry have placed selling abortions above the health and safety of women," Proud said in the statement. "My message to a constituent last week emphasized my concerns with how abortion providers have not been honest with women about the realities of abortion, and the short and long-term risks of this dangerous surgical procedure."
Bank Lees has her own opinion of Proud.
"This woman is scary," she said. "She claims that she is not a politician but a representative and can voice her opinions whatever way she likes. She has a responsibility as a public servant to treat the people who vote respectfully."