Tags: Russell Pearce | sterilization | Arizona GOP | Medicaid

Arizona GOP Leader Quits Amid Medicaid 'Sterilization' Uproar

By    |   Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 08:24 AM


Russell Pearce, vice chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, has stepped down after telling his radio show audience Sept. 6 that Medicaid recipients should be required to undergo mandatory birth control or sterilization, The New York Times reported.

Pearce was president of the State Senate in 2010 when he helped pass legislation that required undocumented immigrants to carry identification at all times. He was defeated in a recall election in 2011. In 2012, he was made the "first-ever" party vice chairman according to MSNBC.

"You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I'd do is get Norplant, birth-control implants or tubal ligations," Pearce said, according to MSNBC. "Then we'll test for drugs and alcohol," he added.

Arizona Democrats, led by D. J. Quinlan, challenged Pearce's statements and questioned why he had not been denounced by fellow Republicans, The Times reported.

By Sunday, Republican candidates had begun to distance themselves from Pearce.

"I couldn't disagree more with Russell Pearce's deplorable comments. They have no place in our discourse," said gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey.

Republican candidate for attorney general Mark Brnovich said Pearce's comments were "cruel" and "unrepresentative of the Republican Party I know."

And Michele Reagan, who is running for Arizona secretary of state, called on Pearce to step down, terming his comments "obnoxious," "disgusting, and offensive." She said: "Let it be known, he is NOT the voice of my GOP," The Times reported.

On Sunday, Pearce announced that he was quitting because he didn't want his comments to overshadow the campaign. He characterized his remarks as a "mistake," explaining that he had "shared comments written by someone else and failed to attribute them to the author."

He added that "the media and the left" had used what he said "to hurt our Republican candidates," according to The Times.

Pearce has also drawn attention for his occasional association with the late neo-Nazi sympathizer J.T. Ready, MSNBC reported.

"He is nothing if not a polarizing figure," said Barrett Marson, a Republican consultant.

"He can do no wrong for people on the far-right and no right for people on the left. But there is a great middle, and even they get offended by some of his antics," according to The Times.


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Russell Pearce, vice chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, has stepped down after telling his radio show audience Sept. 6 that Medicaid recipients should be required to undergo mandatory birth control or sterilization.
Russell Pearce, sterilization, Arizona GOP, Medicaid
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2014-24-16
Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 08:24 AM
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