Abortion activists launching new PAC to enshrine abortion rights in Arizona

sonogram fetus A sonogram picture of a fetus in the second trimester of a woman's pregnancy. | Shutterstock

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.

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