EYES ON THE STATE: What you need to know for April

We're moving Eyes on the State to once a month!

HEY READERS: You may have noticed that we've cut back the content of this newsletter. That's because once the craziness of bill season ends, it tends to be a bit quiet. So expect this newsletter to only show up in your inbox once a month until the end of the legislative session. Today, we discuss the impact of last week's bombshell abortion ruling, LGBTQ+ youth day at the Capitol, and an easy way to get your story told.


Check back here every month to read updates on bills, learn about the latest legislative drama, or see highlights of new bills that Human Rights Campaign in Arizona and LOOKOUT have flagged as relating to LGBTQ+ issues.

LGBTQ+ ABORTIONS:  After politicians get their opportunities to grandstand in front of cameras and during committees at the beginning of the year, lawmakers around this time of year turn their attention to the budget process.

Historically, it's not a very sexy time for headlines, unless you're politico nerds like us.

But that hasn't been the case this time around since last week's ruling by the state's Supreme Court deciding a civil war-era abortion ban could go into effect in the coming months.

Legislators met to try and repeal the ban after a wave of anger and resentment—particularly among Democrats, but also from a few Republicans who are in competitive districts—proved that the issue could be the death knell for Republican control this November.

One of those Republicans is the state's only gay conservative lawmaker, state Rep. Matt Gress (R.-Paradise Valley). Gress is in a competitive district this election cycle, and he said he wanted to remove the ban, but after he proposed its removal he then voted with the rest of his fellow Republicans to go into a recess for the week. (Some Republicans, including Speaker of the House and Senate President are attending a bourbon crawl in Kentucky.)

Since then, Gress has been the focus of media attention, especially after he was caught lying about his vote. Gress also voted in favor of the bill that triggered the state's 1864 ban when Roe v. Wade was overturned.

The Republican decision to move forward with the state's ban will affect the LGBTQ+ population more broadly, if national data from 2019 holds true locally:

2022 report released by the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, reported that queer people are more likely to need abortion care since they have higher rates of unintended pregnancy compared to heterosexual women.

(Human Rights Campaign of Arizona is a content sponsor for this legislative newsletter.)

The study found that compared to almost 15% of heterosexual women, bisexual people and lesbians experience unwanted pregnancy more than 10 percentage points higher.

Surveyors said elevated rates of forced sexual encounters, sexual abuse, and intimate partner violence among lesbian and bisexual women were factors influencing unintended pregnancies. 

The survey also found that 36% of the pregnant transgender individuals surveyed considered an abortion without help from a doctor; one-fifth of those people followed through with an attempt to do so. Read our full story here.


Upcoming events at the Capitol.

On May 1, a coalition of LGBTQ+ groups across the state including HRC in Arizona, Arizona Trans and Youth Parent Organization, GLSEN Arizona, and others are meeting at the Capitol lawn to offer LGBTQ+ youth an "opportunity to be seen and be heard."

Youths and their families from across the state can join in an opportunity to voice their concerns about LGBTQ+ issues in their communities, speak with elected leaders, and meet with other like-minded youth to build community. You can RSVP to the event by clicking here.


Tips & tricks to knowing legislation, or getting involved.

LOOKOUT is currently looking for people who want to tell their stories in a series of essays for our upcoming magazines. If you're interested in telling your story and getting it published, simply reply to this email and we'll get you started.

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