Arizona state abortion rights initiative will not appear on the 2022 ballot

In Arizona, the campaign behind an initiative to provide a state constitutional right to abortion did not submit signatures on July 7, the signature deadline in the state. Because the campaign, Arizonans For Reproductive Freedom, did not collect enough signatures, the initiative will not appear on the ballot this November.

Arizonans For Reproductive Freedom reported collecting more than 175,000 signatures. The requirement was 356,467 valid signatures. The campaign issued a statement, saying supporters would work to get an initiative on the ballot in 2024.

“This is far from a failure,” the campaign statement read, “In only 61 days, more than 3,000 volunteers braved the summer heat to help collect more than 175,000 signatures – an average of 2,700 signatures per day, most of which came after the [Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Center] ruling.”

Arizonans For Reproductive Freedom compared the signature drive in Arizona to a similar initiative effort in Michigan. In Arizona, a petition application wasn’t filed until May 16, 2022, which was after the Dobbs draft leak. “To put that in perspective, a campaign in Michigan qualified for this November’s ballot with 800,000 signatures – an effort that began two years ago.” Signatures are due in Michigan on Monday, July 11.

The measure would have amended the Arizona Constitution to provide that “Every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom,” which would have been defined to include “prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care.”

In Arizona, there are two existing statutes regarding abortion – one, passed in March 2022, that would prohibit abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and one, adopted in 1901, that would prohibit abortions, except in cases to save a mother’s life.

Currently, there are five other abortion-related measures on the ballot for 2022:

  1. California: Proposition 1 would provide that the state cannot “deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions,” including decisions to have an abortion or to choose or refuse contraceptives.
  2. Kansas: The measure would amend the Kansas Constitution to state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortions. The amendment would also declare that the legislature has the power to pass laws regarding abortion.
  3. Kentucky: The measure would amend the Kentucky Constitution to state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortions.
  4. Montana: LR-131 which would require medical care be provided to infants born alive after an induced labor, cesarean section, attempted abortion, or another method. The ballot measure would establish a $50,000 fine and/or 20 years in prison as maximum penalties for violating the law.
  5. Vermont: Proposal 5 would amend the Vermont Constitution to provide that “an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course.”

Campaigns are collecting signatures for two other measures in 2022:

  1. Colorado: The initiative would prohibit abortion in Colorado. The signature deadline is August 8, 2022.
  2. Michigan: The initiative would add a provision to the state constitution that says, “Every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom,” including a right to abortion. The signature deadline is July 11, 2022.

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