Arizona abortion ballot measure locks in more than twice the number of signatures needed

Arizona abortion ballot measure locks in more than twice the number of signatures needed

Over 100 people gathered in Phoenix to turn in over 800,000 signatures for the Arizona Abortion Access Act. (Photo by Robert Gundran)

By Robert Gundran

July 3, 2024

The Arizona for Abortion Access campaign brought in the most signatures for a citizen-led ballot initiative in state history.

Abortion is one step closer to being constitutionally protected in Arizona after the Arizona for Abortion Access campaign turned in more than 800,000 signatures—well over double the amount needed—supporting a ballot initiative to protect the right to abortion in the state. The petitions were delivered to the Arizona Secretary of State’s office in Phoenix on July 3.

The signatures came from Arizonans who support including a ballot measure in the general election. If just 383,923 of those signatures are verified as registered Arizona voters, we’ll see the “Arizona Abortion Access Act” on our ballots this November.

What would the ballot measure do?

If a majority of voters say yes to the “Arizona Abortion Access Act” in November, an amendment will be added to the state constitution establishing a fundamental right to abortion health care in the state.

READ MORE: Find out if you’re registered to vote in Arizona.

Since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, similar ballot measures have been introduced by citizens in California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Vermont, and Ohio. Voters have overwhelmingly passed those measures in every state.

Dawn Penich, spokeswoman for the Arizona for Abortion Access campaign, said over 7,000 volunteers gathered the 823,685 signatures—the most for a citizen-led ballot initiative in state history.

Supporters of the ballot measure helped unload hundreds of boxes of petitions just outside of Secretary of State Adrian Fontes’ office.

“Today is an important day. It’s an exercise of the First Amendment of the Constitution,” Fontes said. “These citizens have gathered and they’re petitioning for the redress of grievances.”

READ MORE: A red state abortion ban nearly killed his wife. Now he’s speaking out.

Arizona for Abortion Access aimed to collect double the needed signatures because of the signature challenge process, which allows opponents to a ballot measure to get signatures thrown out. If enough signatures are thrown out, the measure is tossed from the ballot.

Currently, Arizona has a 15-week ban on abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest. The Arizona Supreme Court also ruled in favor of an 1864 total abortion ban. The ban was later repealed by all Democrats and five Republicans in the state House of Representatives and state Senate.

The Arizona Abortion Access Act would restore abortion access up to the point of fetal viability, allow abortions at any point if needed to protect the health of the patient, and prohibit future laws that would penalize anyone helping someone to access an abortion.

Author

  • Robert Gundran

    Robert Gundran grew up in the Southwest, spending equal time in the Valley and Southern California throughout his life. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in 2018 and wrote for The Arizona Republic and The Orange County Register.

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