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Rep. Athena Salman announces resignation from Tempe seat

The Democrat representative said she is stepping down from the state legislature in order to focus on protecting abortion rights in Arizona


People walk past the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019.

Arizona Rep. Athena Salman, D-Tempe, announced Wednesday that she will resign her seat in the legislature on Dec. 31 to lead a reproductive rights advocacy group. Salman represented the state legislative district that included ASU's Tempe campus.

Salman said in the press release that she will become the director of Arizona campaigns for Reproductive Freedom for All, whose goal is to engage communities and lobby lawmakers for abortion rights. She said she will help mobilize 75,000 people across Arizona to "enshrine this fundamental right into our constitution." 

"The right to decide if, when and how to start and grow your family faces the largest threat in generations," Salman said in the press release. "We are one bad court decision away from a 160-year-old total ban on abortion being reinstated in Arizona."

Salman, an ASU alumna, has advocated for reproductive rights since being elected to the legislature in 2016. In June, Salman and Gov. Katie Hobbs planned to propose a bill to guarantee birth control access in Arizona as a response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade the year before. 

Salman had released a statement following the leak of the draft opinion to overturn the landmark court case decision, condemning "any attempt to undermine this fundamental right." 

READ MORE: Arizona Supreme Court could reinstate 1864 abortion ban

On Thursday Salman said on X that Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton, D-Tucson, will join Gov. Hobbs in supporting the Arizona Right to Contraception Act, the birth control access bill Salman planned to sponsor in 2024. 

Arizona law states that when a legislator steps down, members of the legislator's political party who represent precincts in the legislator's district will form a special committee to nominate three qualified candidates to replace Rep. Salman within 21 days of the vacancy. 

Edited by Shane Brennan, Walker Smith and Alysa Horton

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