Celebrities, doctors, and local advocates rally Arizonans to turn out for abortion rights

Passengers on a party bus in Old Town Scottsdale pose with the free contraceptives given to them by Vote for Abortion. Photo by Camaron Stevenson.

By Camaron Stevenson

June 10, 2024

Old Town Scottsdale’s clubs on Saturday were packed with the usual crowd of bachelorette parties and young professionals, but what they got served alongside their mimosas and spiked seltzer was anything but typical: free emergency contraceptives.

Over $500,000 worth of contraceptives and feminine hygiene products were given out as part of a civic engagement campaign by Vote for Abortion, an organization operating in Arizona and a number of other states where abortion rights will be on the ballot in November.

“The overturning of Roe was just the beginning—we saw it coming,” said campaign spokesperson Jenny Kay. “Abortion, IVF, contraception—it’s all under attack by extremist Republicans. It’s never been more important for people to use their voice on election day to support pro-abortion candidates.”

Many of the messengers for Vote for Abortion came from out of state, but were familiar faces nonetheless: actresses Jodie Foster, Melissa Fumero, Busy Philipps, and June Diane Raphael, along with popular content creators such as Laysie B, La Mente, and Roe v Bros, led by Tucson’s Deja Foxx, spoke with voters all across the Valley about the importance of casting their ballots in both the Primary Election in July and the General Election in November.

“I’m a person that grew up under Roe v. Wade,” Fumero told The Copper Courier. “I always had the choice. I always had the freedom. It was something that I—now, looking back, naively took for granted. I never thought anything would affect that fundamental, basic human right that I had. and yet, here we are.”

One of the main issues on voter’s minds was the Arizona for Abortion for Abortion Access Act, a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would make abortion-related healthcare a protected right. The proposal is expected to be on the ballot in November.

@coppercourier Melissa Fumero stopped by the Valley on Saturday to pass out free contraception and talk with voters about the Arizona for Abortion Access ballot measure, which would restore access to reproductive healthcare. The proposal would return healthcare decisions relating to reproductive care to patients and their doctors. Arizonans currently have limited access, and cannot have an abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. #azpol #reprorights #beballotready #everythingarizona ♬ original sound – Copper Courier

Talking with voters

Patrons at the Uptown Farmers Market were surprised yet appreciative as they were offered the Julie-branded morning-after contraception by movie stars and TikTok sensations. Angelica Ramirez, a voter from Phoenix who was at the market, said the gesture was a welcome reminder of what’s at stake.

“From things that I’ve seen through social media, and things like that, we could potentially lose the right to contraception,” said Ramirez. “As an American, it’s part of my due diligence to go and vote.”

The free contraceptives were eagerly scooped up outside the day clubs in Scottsdale. One party bus full of women cheered as dozens of Julie packages were tossed in through the windows, with one recipient proclaiming she would swear off men altogether if contraceptives were to become illegal, as has been suggested by presidential candidate and convicted felon Donald Trump.

Despite their celebrity status, the group was blocked from entering Maya Dayclub due to their strict dress code: swim trunks for men, bikinis for women.

Undeterred, Philipps, actress Megalyn Echikunwoke, and journalist Liz Plank bought swimsuits, paid the cover charge, and jumped in the pool.

“We talked to men about women’s bodies and quizzed them on their rights,” said Plank. “They were pretty happy to get Plan B! I think a lot of men are more receptive to birth control and contraception than they think they are.”

Reproductive healthcare providers were also in the fray, offering insights on how difficult abortion bans like Arizona’s make it for them to do their jobs. Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, an emergency care physician and former congressional candidate, said the politicization of reproductive healthcare has taken away medical professionals’ ability to provide proper care for their patients, and can even put their lives at risk.

“We know who the experts are: physicians, scientists, people who study this, who have delivered the standard of care. Those are the folks that should be making these decisions,” said Tipirneni. “These are gut-wrenching decisions, and there’s no room for political influence in that decision. It should be made between a woman and her health care provider and left at that.”

Celebrities, doctors, and local advocates rally Arizonans to turn out for abortion rights

Vote for Abortion at the Uptown Farmers Market in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Camaron Stevenson

‘We deserve the right’

The bus tour ended at the Arizona Capitol, where nearly 200 people braved the blistering heat to listen to women share their experiences receiving—or in more recent cases—being denied critical abortion care. Countless others watched from home, as content creators with millions of followers live-streamed the event.

“We deserve the right to have an abortion,” Foster told the crowd. “For reasons that you owe no one an explanation for. It’s not just young, straight, single women who need reproductive rights. It’s queer people, it’s mothers, it’s fertility patients, and trans people, and rape survivors, and all of us.”

In addition to encouraging voter participation and offering free contraceptives, Vote for Abortion encouraged supporters to donate to local groups that help women access reproductive healthcare like the Abortion Fund of Arizona and Tucson Abortion Support Collective.

 

@coppercourier Jodie Foster, Busy Phillips, and a host of celebrities and influencers held an abortion rights rally at the Arizona Capitol on Saturday. @voteforabortion hosted the rally and gave away $500,000 in free contraception medication as part of a larger campaign to promote reproductive freedom and encourage voters to pass the Arizona for Abortion Access Act in November. #azpol #reprorights #beballotready #everythingarizona #azcheck #arizonacheck # #arizonacheck🔥 #arizonacheck❤️ #arizonacheck🌵✨like #arizonacheckfyp #fyp ♬ original sound – Copper Courier

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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