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‘Attempted insurrection:’ Republican lawmakers retaliate after Dems’ success on abortion ban repeal

Members of the Arizona Freedom Caucus filed an ethics complaint after Democrats’ vocal push to repeal the ban sparks change.

By Alyssa Bickle, The Copper Courier


Republican legislators have designated two of their Democratic colleagues as “insurrectionists” in response to their efforts to repeal the state’s Civil War-era abortion ban earlier this month.


Arizona Republican Reps. Barbara Parker, David Marshall, and Rachel Jones filed an ethics complaint Thursday against Democratic Reps. Analise Ortiz and Oscar De Los Santos. The complaint alleges their actions—chanting “shame” at legislative leadership for voting to recess instead of bringing a bill that would repeal the ban to a vote—violate the Legislature’s rules against disorderly conduct. 


The complaint claims Ortiz and De Los Santos “attempted insurrection,” and “incited a riot.” The language resembles that surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol, an incident that several in the Republican caucus have publicly voiced support for, been directly linked to, or were present at. 


The complaint centers around a tense moment on the floor of the Arizona House on April 10. As House Republicans voted to recess instead of recognizing Democrats’ attempt to bring a repeal of the abortion ban to a vote, Ortiz and De Los Santos led chants of “Shame! Shame!” in opposition to the vote for recess. 


“Representative Ortiz yelled out personally offensive and wildly inappropriate attacks that grossly impugned and deliberately misrepresented the character and motives of House Republicans,” the complaint states. 


In the ethics complaint, Republicans called Ortiz an “insurrectionist” for “ inciting a near riot among their Democratic colleagues consisting of threats and harassment.”


Progressive groups who both regularly attend hearings at the Capitol and are familiar with the rules and laws surrounding protest and free speech quickly came in defense of Ortiz and De Los Santos.


Alejandra Gomez, executive director of Living United for Change in Arizona, said in a statement that the ethics complaint was an attempt to silence a constitutionally protected form of dissent.


“Utilizing your First Amendment right to speak out against a Civil War era abortion ban is democracy in action,” said Gomez. “We applaud the boisterous opposition of Democratic Lawmakers like Analise Ortiz and Oscar De Los Santos, who are fearless and unapologetic in service of their constituents and the state of Arizona.”


Gomez said the ethics complaint is full of irony, as those same Arizona Republicans have ties to the Jan. 6 insurrection.


Republicans cited Ortiz’s own TikTok video of the incident, and wrote that her behavior was unprovoked, as their vote for recess was merely a motion to “conduct due diligence, discuss collectively, and exercise prudence and wisdom in addressing legislative business and procedures.”


The complaint mentioned that Ortiz’s behavior demonstrated a lack of respect for other members of the Legislature, and that “the people of Arizona deserve a higher standard of decorum and respect from their elected representatives.” 


In the past, Republican lawmakers have removed private citizens and journalists from hearing rooms for no substantial reasons, fostering an environment of disrespect for the workings of democracy—and their constituents. 


“This ethics complaint is nothing more than a form of retaliation,” Ortiz said in an Instagram video post. “Ultimately our disruption on the House floor did lead to a bill that will repeal the abortion ban passing through the House of Representatives.” 


In an Instagram post, De Los Santos called the ethics complaint “meritless” and said that it is forcing him and Ortiz to hire outside legal counsel. 

In the 2024 session alone, ethics complaints resulted in the expulsion of Republican Rep. Liz Harris and resignation of Democratic Rep. Leezah Sun


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