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Women's March organization chooses Phoenix for national abortion rights event

The Women’s March organization has been holding rallies around the country since 2017. This year, the group’s national march will focus on abortion rights and will be held in downtown Phoenix.

Dozens of U.S. cities will hold Women’s March events on Saturday to mark the 51st anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. But the Phoenix event will be the official national march.

The group’s executive director, Rachel O’Leary Carmona, said the focus this year is on states that are likely to have abortion rights initiatives on the ballot.

“We’re in Phoenix to help build a base and drive attention and people power to the efforts there," O'Leary Carmona said. 

The group Arizona for Abortion Access, is  gathering signatures for a ballot measure that 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 group needs nearly 400,000 signatures by July to qualify for the Arizona ballot.

An opposition group is already trying to block the measure, saying it’s too broad.

Abortion is currently allowed up to 15 weeks in Arizona, but the state  Supreme Court is weighing whether a near-total ban should go back into effect.

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