David Garcia, the leading contender for the Democratic nomination for governor of Arizona, said during a July campaign event that he supports minors having the ability to obtain an abortion without parental consent.
During an event for Garcia's female supporters, billed as "Women with David Garcia," the candidate opined about his views on reproductive rights and female equality.
Garcia, a self-described "champion of women," was asked to elaborate on where he stood on females under the age of 18 procuring abortions without parental consent.
"Do you think that someone who is a minor, I have two little sisters who are like 13 and 14, do you think that a minor should be allowed to have an abortion without parental consent?"
The candidate praised the question, claiming it was "good" and "tough," before urging those in the audience to put themselves into the shoes of the minor contemplating an abortion.
"That’s a good question. That’s a tough question," Garcia said. "Let’s put ourselves into that situation for a second. Let’s put ourselves into how tough that situation has to be."
Garcia stated abortion in the case of minors is often not taken seriously as an issue. The audio, which was posted online Wednesday, was not available in full and skips a section where the candidate appears to further address the issue.
"Because, folks, when people ask that question, they think they go at it for flippantly … [skips ahead] … parental consent probably would, to be frank with you. And they are likely in a very tough, difficult, desperate situation to be there."
The candidate added he would want the minor to have "the ability to go to a professional," who could help them make the decision, but ultimately said he supported minors having the ability to obtain an abortion without parental consent.
"And, in that very difficult crossroads, in that place where there are very few places to turn, I want them to have the ability to go to a professional, to go to a counselor to make that decision with their assistance," Garcia said. "So, yes, I do."
Under existing Arizona law, a child under 18 years of age seeking an abortion must receive notarized written permission from at least one of their parents or a legal guardian before the procedure can occur, according to the Center for Arizona Policy. Minors can bypass the requirement for parental consent by receiving legal permission to procure an abortion from an Arizona superior court judge.
Laws determining parental consent and notification requirements in the case of abortion vary widely from state to state. A handful of states – Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington – do not require either parental notification or consent. Other state laws range from requiring one parent be notified to requiring both parents give consent.
Since the full context of the audio was not available, the Washington Free Beacon reached out to Garcia's campaign requesting clarification on his views. Those requests were not returned by press time.
Garcia's remark came one day after his campaign garnered the backing of the Arizona chapter of NARAL Pro-choice America.
"With reproductive rights more vulnerable today than they have been in decades, David Garcia is the leader that Arizona needs … He has proven himself to be a strong advocate for reproductive justice," the group said at the time.
In accepting the endorsement, Garcia, who is also being supported by the Arizona chapter of Planned Parenthood and the National Organization for Women, pledged that if elected he would "veto any bill that infringes" upon abortion.
"As governor, I’ll defend access to healthcare and veto any bill that infringes on women’s reproductive rights," Garcia said. "Women have fought too long and too hard to see their rights infringed upon and we need a strong governor in Arizona who will make sure we do not go backwards."