Arizona voters learned last week that democratic gubernatorial candidate, Fred DuVal, supports a 14-year-old girl having access to abortion without the knowledge, or permission of either parent. DuVal admitted this position at the Redemption Church in Gilbert, Ariz., during a low-profile public forum on Tuesday.
Forum host, Pastor Tom Shrader, asked DuVal if notarized parental consent should be required when a teenager seeks an abortion. Duval responded: “Uh, consent, no. Because I believe that then gives the choice of reproductive freedom to the parents and not to the expectant mother and I believe the expectant mother has that…”
Shrader clarified, “And if she’s 14?”
“Yeah,” DuVal said quietly, as he glanced down at the table.
Duval’s position on this issue drew sharp criticism from fellow democrats, including Ariz. State Representative Catherine Miranda. “I find it shocking that Fred DuVal would so quickly and definitively dismiss the need for parental oversight in children’s lives,” she said, according to a statement posted on Doug Ducey’s campaign website.
Gail Glitcho, spokeswoman for the Republican Governors Association, described Duval as “too extreme for Arizona.” According to a statement on the RGA website, she said, “It is both disturbing and troubling that Fred DuVal, as a father, would say that parents have no right to consent to what their children decide to do with their bodies.”
Years of polls show parental consent policies as being widely supported by Republicans, Independents and even the majority of pro-choice Democrats. The issue goes beyond the reproductive freedom of a teenager, removing parental consent would be an assault on parent’s rights and further reduce the number of statutory rapes being reported.
Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham said DuVal is “denying the role parents have in raising and loving their own children” in a statement Tuesday. “Fred DuVal is a candidate who has an incredible disregard for family life as we know it. Forget everyday political issues like taxes and budgets and tuition costs … Fred DuVal is the worst thing that could happen to families in Arizona.”
After being close for weeks, DuVal is now trailing Ducey by a 50 percent to 39 percent margin, according to a CBS News/YouGov survey.