Abortion Rights Advocates Gather Enough Signatures To Make the Ballot in Arizona

Abortion rights advocates are hoping to gather more than double the number of signatures required in case some are challenged by anti-abortion activists.

AP/Ross D. Franklin, file
Arizona's capitol on April 15, 2020, at Phoenix. AP/Ross D. Franklin, file

Abortion rights advocates in Arizona say that they have exceeded the number of signatures required to have a measure appear on the ballot in November that, if passed, would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution.

A group comprising abortion rights advocacy organizations, Arizona for Abortion Access, reports that it has gathered more than 506,000 signatures, surpassing the 383,923 required for the measure to appear on the ballot.

“This number is a testament to how popular reproductive freedom and protecting abortion access are among Arizona voters,” a spokeswoman for the campaign said in a statement.

Arizona is one of eight states where advocates are working to get abortion measures on the ballot. Of those states, Arizona is the most competitive. President Biden carried the state by only about 11,000 votes in the 2020 election.

“Since our signature gathering efforts began last fall, we have amassed a grassroots network of well over 3,000 volunteers across Arizona, from Bullhead City to Nogales and hundreds of communities in between,” the campaign manager, Cheryl Bruce, said. “Voters are eager to sign this petition and have a direct say in restoring abortion access this November.”

The measure in question would, if passed, guarantee the right to an abortion in Arizona up until the point of fetal viability — around 24 weeks of pregnancy. Arizona currently allows abortions up to 15 weeks.

Further complicating the situation in Arizona is a near-total abortion ban on the books from the 1860s, which could go into effect depending on the outcome of a state supreme court ruling.

While the measure is not yet guaranteed to appear on the ballot in Arizona, there are few avenues for opponents of abortion rights to block the measure.

While in other states there are procedural hurdles to getting a measure on the ballot — in Florida, say, ballot measures are subject to approval by the state supreme court — anti-abortion advocates have leaned into a “decline to sign” campaign aimed at getting voters to refuse to back the petition.

Politico reports that canvassers for the state’s anti-abortion movement are also recording voters who signed the petition in hopes that they will mischaracterize the ballot measure, meaning their signatures could be challenged. Because of this opposition, petition gatherers are hoping to get more than double the number of signatures required in case some of them are tossed.

Arizona is expected to be one of the most competitive states in the 2024 elections. A recent survey from Decision Desk HQ and the Hill found that Mr. Trump leads Mr. Biden 43.6 percent to 37.3 percent, with attorney Robert Kennedy Jr. taking 9.6 percent of the vote.

The New York Sun

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