Over 500,000 Arizonans sign petition to put abortion rights on the ballot

abortion ballot

A main focus of the march at the Arizona Capitol was on the proposed abortion rights initiative that supporters are trying to get on the ballot this fall, to amend the state constitution to protect abortion. (Photo by Marnie Jordan/Cronkite News)

By Camaron Stevenson

April 5, 2024

Organizers for a ballot initiative to make abortion access a constitutionally protected right in Arizona announced this week that over 500,000 voters have signed their petition.

That number far exceeds the nearly 394,000 signatures required to qualify for the November 2024 ballot—and is more than any other citizen’s initiative in state history.

Chris Love, a tribal attorney and senior advisor for the campaign, said the magnitude of support for their efforts “is a testament to how popular reproductive freedom and protecting abortion access are among Arizona voters.”

Arizonans do support broader freedoms regarding access to abortion than what their state currently offers. An August 2023 poll conducted by Data for Progress found that 60% of Arizona voters consider themselves pro-choice, and 58% disagree with the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

What the Proposal Would Do

Once signatures are collected and validated, the initiative will be placed on the 2024 ballot. If passed, the Arizona Abortion Access Act would:

  • Restore abortion access in the state up to the point of fetal viability, usually up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Allow abortions at any point of pregnancy if needed to protect the physical or mental health of the pregnant person.
  • Prohibit any future laws that would penalize anyone aiding someone in getting an abortion.

Currently, Arizona has a 15-week ban on abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest. The state Supreme Court is currently reconsidering a pre-statehood law that mandates prison time for abortion providers—and, should it be reinstated, could put other reproductive healthcare services like fertility care at-risk.

Building Momentum

The deadline to submit signatures to the Secretary of State for citizen initiatives is July 3, and organizers for the Arizona Abortion Access Act say they plan to continue collecting signatures until then. In addition to curating extra signatures, as many are typically disqualified due to the state’s strict signature collection requirements, talking to voters gives organizers an opportunity to build a strong base of support.

Susan Ashley, a volunteer from the East Valley, said being able to talk with voters and answer questions has allowed them to build a sense of community around protecting abortion access, and has found her neighbors to be incredibly supportive.

“People are excited to sign and many thank us for being out here,” said Ashley. “It’s amazing to hear the stories people share as they sign, especially from mothers and grandmothers who say it’s unacceptable that their daughters and granddaughters have fewer freedoms than they did.”

Historically, legal challenges have caused initiatives with a low number of qualifying signatures to be tossed from the ballot, so the additional signatures are a necessary precaution as well.

Those interested in signing the petition or volunteering to help in their efforts are encouraged to visit the Arizona for Abortion Access website.

Author

  • Camaron Stevenson

    Camaron is the Founding Editor and Chief Political Correspondent for The Copper Courier, and has worked as a journalist in Phoenix for over a decade. He also teaches multimedia journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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