Arizona organizers say they have more than enough signatures for an abortion ballot measure

A group hoping to introduce an amendment enshrining abortion rights in the Arizona constitution said Tuesday that it has gathered enough signatures to make the measure eligible for the November ballot.

It is necessary to collect 383,923 signatures in support of constitutional amendments in Arizona, and Dawn Penich, Arizona’s communications manager for abortion access, said it has already collected more than 500,000 signatures.

NBC News was first to report the signatures.

Penich said they plan to turn in the signatures as the deadline approaches in early July, and acknowledged there could be legal challenges over language and single-subject requirements.

Arizona currently has a 15-week abortion ban in place. The ban, which was signed into law in 2022, includes exceptions for medical emergencies and has restrictions on medical abortion and requires an ultrasound before an abortion and parental consent for minors.

Election 2024 Abortion Arizona
Protesters march around the Arizona Capitol after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion on June 24, 2022, in Phoenix.

Ross D. Franklin / AP

The Arizona Supreme Court is also considering whether a centuries-old law banning nearly all abortions, with exceptions for the life and health of the mother, should take effect.

The proposed constitutional amendment would guarantee a fundamental right to abortion and prevent the state from passing or enforcing any law prohibiting access to this procedure.

Penich said the lack of exceptions beyond 15 weeks harms the “very real realities that pregnant patients experience.”

“So, you know, we wanted to make sure that what we’re doing gives that decision-making power back to the people who are actually affected and who actually understand what’s going on, which is the patient, their own provider, and you know, in consultation with their family,” she said.

Tuesday’s announcement follows a ruling by the Florida Supreme Court that allowed passage of an abortion ballot measure and underscores the drive to fight abortion at the state level at the following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision that upended federal procedural protections.

Efforts are also underway to put abortion on the ballot in several other states.

Abortion ballot questions have been successful in every state where they have appeared. President Biden and Democrats hope to take advantage of this, defend Mr. Biden as a candidate which would restore the protections of Roe v. Wade and would block a nationwide ban if passed by Congress.

A ballot measure on abortion could have broad implications because Arizona is a crucial battleground state that Mr. Biden won in 2020 by nearly 10,500 more votes than Donald Trump. Mr. Biden was the first Democrat to win a presidential election since 1996.

Trump has not presented a definitive position on his abortion policy, but he has raised the possibility of a ban at 15 or 16 weeks.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the former president said he would “make a statement next week on abortion.”


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