A Republican state legislator in Arizona reportedly wrote an email to a constituent saying that women should witness an abortion before having an abortion.
The email published on a political blog on the Arizona Republic's website Tuesday is apparently from State Rep. Terri Proud (R-Tucson) and appears to have been sent from a state email, the paper said.
The email was in response to a constituent who said she emailed Proud and fellow lawmakers to let them know she opposed the bill pending in the Legislature that would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. The site reports that the email is unedited.
"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."
An aide in Proud's Phoenix office told The Huffington Post that Proud was performing legislative duties and unavailable for immediate comment. She has not returned a message left with her office.
The email is drawing quick criticism from Democratic lawmakers.
"This is another instance of them going off the deep end on this," House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-Phoenix) told HuffPost. "This is a continued attack on women's health care and women's choice. I wonder if Representative Proud would agree with this on every surgical procedure. This is ludicrous."
Campbell said he hopes Proud was not serious in her email and would not be proposing it as an amendment to the bill.
Rep. Matt Heinz (D-Tucson), a physician, said Tuesday Proud's email shows a misunderstanding of laws and procedures governing medicine and medical education. Heinz said there are laws in place to prevent spectators from watching surgery, which would include abortions. He also suggested that Proud consider other issues.
"My only response is for this Legislature to stop this embarrassing obsession with social issues that do not create a single job in our state," said Heinz, who also characterized the email as a "hodgepodge of crazy."
In addition to the abortion ban, the Arizona Legislature is considering bills to defund Planned Parenthood, allow doctors to withhold information from patients to prevent abortions, and to allow employers to opt out of contraception coverage for religious reasons. The contraception bill also would allow employers to demand women provide reasons for why they are using birth control and allow for firing if it is for nonmedical reasons.
Proud is known as one of the more conservative members of the Legislature and earlier this month passed a bill to allow public schools to teach the Bible as an elective class.
Campbell said though that the email could be revealing a liberal bent in his colleague. "Talk about big government, that's the epitome of big government," Campbell said. "This is getting out of hand."