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Pro-abortion groups reach signature threshold to get amendment on Arizona ballot

April 3, 2024 Catholic News Agency 1
A sonogram picture of a fetus in the second trimester of a woman’s pregnancy. / Credit: Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Apr 3, 2024 / 16:00 pm (CNA).

Pro-abortion groups that are trying to enshrine a right to abortion in the Arizona Constitution surpassed the required number of signatures to get their initiative on the November ballot.

The ad hoc coalition of pro-abortion organizations called Arizona for Abortion Access says it has collected more than 500,000 signatures — more than 120,000 more than is required to get the proposal on the ballot. The secretary of state’s office will still need to verify the signatures before the initiative will officially be on the ballot. 

The groups surpassed its goal more than three months before the state’s July 3 deadline to submit signatures. 

“We are well on our way to the November ballot thanks to all of you, and we won’t let up,” the coalition posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Arizonans deserve to have a say in our own health care decisions, once and for all.”

The Arizona for Abortion Access coalition includes well-known promoters of abortion, such as Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona.

Current Arizona law permits elective abortions until the 15th week of pregnancy. The proposed constitutional amendment that will likely be on the ballot would extend elective abortion through the second trimester of pregnancy and legalize many abortions until the moment of birth.

The proposed amendment, which would add a new section to the state’s constitution, would declare that “every individual has a fundamental right to abortion.” It would prohibit the state from enacting restrictions on abortion until the point of viability. Although the amendment would allow some restrictions after viability, the state could not restrict post-viability abortions when the treating physician (who is often the abortionist) claims an abortion is necessary to protect the mother’s life, physical health, or mental health.

Under the proposed amendment, viability is defined as the point when the unborn child has “a significant “likelihood of … sustained survival outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures.” There is, however, no week-based limit, and viability would be determined by the treating physician or abortionist.

Arizona Right to Life, which opposes the proposed amendment, has warned that the proposal has “no restriction on the inhumane procedure of partial-birth abortion” and would “override parental rights” because “the necessity for parental consent would no longer be mandated if a 12-, 13-, or 14-year-old girl seeks an abortion.”

“[This proposal] eliminates almost every pro-life legislation in Arizona,” the organization warned. “The comprehensive undoing of laws safeguarding women and the unborn in Arizona would result from the loopholes, exceptions, and qualifications present in the language.​”

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, Arizona was one of nearly two dozen states to enact pro-life legislation by restricting abortion at the 15th week of pregnancy.

Several states have also enacted new pro-abortion legislation since the decision and some have approved amendments to their state constitutions. Since the Supreme Court decision, every pro-life proposal that has gone before voters in a ballot initiative has failed and every pro-abortion proposal that has received a vote via ballot initiative has passed.


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Abortion activists launching new PAC to enshrine abortion rights in Arizona

August 8, 2023 Catholic News Agency 4
A sonogram picture of a fetus in the second trimester of a woman’s pregnancy. / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Aug 8, 2023 / 12:35 pm (CNA).

A group of abortion-rights activists is working to enshrine the right to abortion in the Arizona Constitution, hoping to get the measure on the state’s ballot ahead of the 2024 elections. 

The political action committee Arizona for Abortion Access on Tuesday filed the Arizona Abortion Access Act, a “proposed constitutional amendment that will enshrine the fundamental right to abortion in the Arizona Constitution for generations to come,” the group said in a press release. 

The group claimed that Arizona’s current 15-week ban constitutes “a significant barrier between patients and essential care,” one that allegedly “deprives pregnant [women] of their liberty and autonomy to make choices about their own health care.”

The proposed amendment, a copy of which was obtained by CNA, would forbid any abortion regulations from being imposed prior to “fetal viability,” or the ability of the unborn child to survive outside of its mother’s womb. At current levels of technology and health care, viability is usually at about 22-24 weeks.

Among the groups supporting the effort are Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, NARAL Arizona, and Healthcare Rising Arizona.

These groups, the PAC says on its website, have partnered “to begin collecting signatures to place a constitutional amendment on the November 2024 ballot.” Arizona requires nearly 400,000 signatures for an amendment to appear on a ballot.

Group chair Candace Lew said in the press release that the coalition “will power this grassroots effort to not only pose this question to voters but ensure it passes next November.”

The pro-abortion effort in Arizona comes after over a year of GOP-led legislatures passing major abortion restrictions around the country in the wake of the repeal of Roe v. Wade. 

The landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision stipulated that states could not outlaw abortion at all in the first three months of pregnancy and only minimally thereafter. The ruling was binding on all 50 states. 

The overturning of Roe returned the power of abortion regulation to individual state legislatures, leading many state houses to enact significant restrictions on abortion, with some outlawing the procedure after as early as six weeks of pregnancy.

Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs, meanwhile, signed an executive order in June directing the state “not to assist in any investigations” related to legal abortion services there; Hobbs said the state would also “decline extradition requests from other states seeking to prosecute individuals who [obtain abortions]” in Arizona.