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Abortion advocates say they'll submit a record number of signatures this week for ballot initiative

abortion clinic
Katherine Davis-Young/KJZZ
An abortion clinic in Tempe.

A group seeking to get an abortion rights measure onto Arizona’s November ballot says it has collected more signatures than any initiative in state history.

Since shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ended the federal right to abortion by overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022, Arizona has banned abortions after 15 weeks of gestation, except in some medical emergencies.

The proposed Arizona Abortion Access Act would allow abortions until the point of fetal viability — around 24 weeks — with broad exceptions beyond that when health risks are involved.

Wednesday is the deadline for citizens’ initiatives in Arizona to submit signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office to qualify for the ballot. The group Arizona for Abortion Access is expected to turn in more than double the 383,923 signatures that it needs to put the measure before voters.

Campaign spokesperson Dawn Penich said more than 7,000 volunteers have helped circulate petitions around the state.

“We have a lot of confidence that Arizona voters know what they’ve lost and are clear on how to restore it," Penich told reporters earlier this month.

Arizona's Supreme Court in April ruled that the state should follow a law from 1864 that would have banned abortions in nearly all circumstances. State lawmakers then voted in May to repeal that law, keeping the 15-week law in place.

Penich said even after the 1864 law was thrown out, momentum for the abortion rights ballot measure did not slow down.

"I think, despite all the other political noise, I have never seen clarity and enthusiasm for a citizens’ initiative like I have with the Abortion Access Act," Penich said.

But the campaign opposing the Arizona Abortion Access Act says the language of the proposed amendment is too broad to appeal to voters.

“Arizona law has been settled. Abortion is legal up to 15 weeks, and beyond that for medical emergencies. And actually, that’s in line with where Arizona voters are at,” Joanna De La Cruz, a spokesperson for the It Goes Too Far campaign told KJZZ News.

The It Goes Too Far campaign reports it has rallied wide opposition to the Arizona Abortion Access Act, with more than 3,300 volunteers statewide. De La Cruz said the campaign is planning voter outreach efforts through November.

Arizona is one of about a dozen states likely to have an abortion-related measure on the ballot in November. Since Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022, voters in six other states have considered constitutional amendments regarding abortion. In each of those states, voters sided with abortion access.

ACBS News poll in May found 65% of Arizona voters would support the proposed abortion rights measure, but another recent poll from Noble Predictive Insights showed voters in the state are evenly split on the issue.

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