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

A group hoping to put an amendment enshrining the right to abortion in Arizona’s constitution said Tuesday that they had gathered enough signatures for the measure to qualify for the ballot in November.

There is a requirement for the collection of 383,923 signatures of support for constitutional amendments in Arizona, and Dawn Penich, communications manager for Arizona for Abortion Access, said they have amassed more than 500,000 signatures already.

NBC News was first to report on the signatures. 

Penich said they plan to turn the signatures in closer to the deadline in early July and acknowledged there could be legal challenges on the 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 in cases of medical emergencies and has restrictions on medication 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 decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision June 24, 2022, in Phoenix. 

Ross D. Franklin / AP

The Arizona Supreme Court is also reviewing whether or not a centuries-old ban law banning nearly all abortions, with exceptions for the life and health of the mother should go into effect.

The proposed constitutional amendment would provide a fundamental right to an abortion and restrict the state from adopting or enforcing any law that would prohibit access to the procedure. 

Penich said the lack of exceptions past 15 weeks causes harm to the “very real realities that pregnant patients go through.” 

“So, you know, we wanted to make sure that what we do restores that decision making power to the people who actually are impacted 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 came on the heels of a Florida Supreme Court decision that allowed an abortion ballot measure to move forward and underscores the push to address abortion on a state level following the Supreme Court Dobbs decision that upended federal protections on the procedure.

There are also efforts underway to get abortion on the ballot in multiple other states.

Abortion ballot questions have been successful in every state  where they have  appeared. President Biden and Democrats are  hoping to capitalize on that, championing Mr. Biden as the candidate who would restore protections from  Roe v. Wade and block a national ban if passed by Congress. 

An abortion ballot measure could have wide-ranging implications as Arizona is a crucial battleground state that Mr. Biden won in 2020 with nearly 10,500 votes more than Donald Trump. Mr. Biden was the first Democrat to win in a presidential election since 1996. 

Trump has not offered a definitive stance on his abortion policy, but he has floated the possibility of a ban at 15 or 16 weeks. 

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

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