Arizona Likely To Join Growing Group Of States With Abortion Ballot Initiatives

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PHOENIX, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 08: Arizona Secretary of State and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs speaks at a Women's March rally in support of midterm election candidates who support abortion rights outsi... PHOENIX, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 08: Arizona Secretary of State and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs speaks at a Women's March rally in support of midterm election candidates who support abortion rights outside the State Capitol on October 8, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. Hobbs faces Trump-endorsed Arizona Republican nominee for governor Kari Lake in the midterm elections on November 8. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Abortion access advocates in Arizona may soon join similar activists in Florida, Maryland and New York in successfully securing a slot to ask voters about abortion protections on the state’s 2024 ballot.

Arizona for Abortion Access — which is made up of a group of abortion advocacy groups like Planned Parenthood of Arizona and the ACLU chapter in the state — told NBC News Tuesday that the group has exceeded the threshold of signatures needed to get a measure on the ballot, which is 383,923 signatures in Arizona. With 506,892 petition signatures as of the weekend, it seems the question will go before voters in the fall, which could serve as a turnout boon for Democrats in a key battleground state, though some may be invalided after they’re submitted to the secretary of state’s office.

The ballot measure would ask voters to approve a constitutional amendment that would codify abortion up to the point of fetal viability as a “fundamental right” in the state. It would also codify the right for a medical professional to conduct an abortion beyond that point in order to “protect the life or physical or mental health of the pregnant individual.”

The ballot measure could prove to be particularly crucial for abortion access in Arizona as the state Supreme Court is expected to soon weigh in on an 1864-era abortion ban that was flung back onto the books following Roe’s overturning. It makes performing or helping someone get an abortion a felony with a prison sentence of two to five years.

With President Biden winning Arizona in 2020 by 0.3 percentage points, the state may be the first swing state to have an abortion measure on the ballot in the fall. The Florida Supreme Court excited Democrats on Monday when it approved a measure similar to the Arizona proposal for the ballot in November, while also carving a path for the state’s six-week ban to soon come into effect. Democrats hope distaste for the six-week ban plus a ballot question on abortion will inspire Democratic voter turnout in the state that Donald Trump won by 3.4 points in 2020.

Voters in New York and Maryland will have the opportunity to weigh in on abortion ballot question in the fall and eight other states are moving in that direction: Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota and obviously Arizona. In Colorado, competing abortion proposals are in the works and in Missouri, several different proposals are being pushed, per the AP:

Pushes are underway to get multiple abortion-related ballot measures before Missouri voters in 2024. Abortion rights advocates in Missourians for Constitutional Freedom are pushing for one that would guarantee abortion is legal until viability.

A group of moderate Republicans are taking a different approach and calling for an amendment that would allow abortion up to 12 weeks, and after that only under limited exceptions.

Supporters of each measure must submit more than 171,000 valid signatures by May 5 to get them on the ballot.

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