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Campaign launches to block Arizona abortion rights ballot measure

A measure to expand abortion rights in Arizona has not even qualified for ballots yet. But a new campaign is already trying to block it.

The position of the It Goes Too Far campaign is not strictly anti-abortion. Rather, political director Olivia Escobedo said, the group is made up of Arizonans with varying opinions on abortion.

“We have all come together to defeat this abortion amendment because its broad language is deceiving," Escobedo told KJZZ News. 

The  proposed ballot measure, organized by the group Arizona for Abortion Access, would amend the state constitution to allow abortions to the point of fetal viability, around 24 weeks. It would also allow exceptions beyond that when health risks are involved.

The It Goes Too Far campaign says the language of the proposed amendment would open the door for abortion providers to skirt safety standards and would allow unqualified providers to perform abortions.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs said late last week that those assertions aren’t true.

"That’s ridiculous. No, this measure is in line with where most Arizonans are who believe that this deeply personal decision that belongs between a woman and her doctor. And that’s what this measure allows," Hobbs said.

Hobbs added that she’s pleased with the number of signatures collected so far in support the Arizona for Abortion Access initiative, 

In a statement, Arizona for Abortion Access executive committee member Chris Love also denied those claims, saying under the amendment, abortions would be "regulated the same way as any other medical care." 

Abortion-rights advocates need to collect valid signatures from at least 383,923 Arizona voters by July 3 to get their issue onto the November ballot. The opposition group says it is encouraging voters not to sign the petition.

Abortion is currently legal up to 15 weeks gestation in Arizona. The  state Supreme Court is currently weighing whether the state should return to a a near-total abortion ban. 

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Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.