Campaign submits signatures for right-to-abortion initiative in Arizona; could join six or more states voting on abortion in 2024

In Arizona, the campaign behind a ballot initiative to provide a state constitutional right to abortion submitted signatures on July 3, 2024. Voters would decide on the ballot initiative on Nov. 5, 2024. 

Arizona for Abortion Access, the campaign sponsoring the initiative, submitted 823,685 signatures to state officials. At least 383,923 signatures must be verified.

Voters in 11 states could vote on abortion-related ballot measures in Nov. 2024. As of July 3, measures are certified in six states—Colorado, Florida, Maryland, New York, Nevada, and South Dakota.

The ballot initiative would amend the Arizona Constitution to provide for a fundamental right to abortion that the state cannot interfere with before the point of fetal viability. Fetal viability is defined in the measure as the point of pregnancy when there is a significant chance of the survival of the fetus outside of the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures. The ballot measure would provide that this right cannot be interfered with unless justified by a compelling state interest, defined as a law or regulation enacted for the limited purpose of improving or maintaining the health of the individual seeking an abortion that does not infringe on that individual’s decision-making.

In Arizona, abortion is legal for up to 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The Committee to Protect Healthcare, in an open letter supporting the initiative, said, “As health care professionals across Arizona, we support the Arizona Abortion Access Act, the amendment to restore reproductive freedoms in the state and put families back in charge of medical decisions. This amendment simply restores the rights Arizonans had for the past 50 years, before Roe v. Wade was overturned. That means Arizonans will again have the freedom to make their own decisions about pregnancy and abortion, without politicians interfering.”

Cindy Dahlgren, spokeswoman for It Goes Too Far, the campaign opposing the initiative, said, “Unfortunately, most voters are not told that under this unregulated, unlimited abortion amendment they will lose the required medical doctor, critical and commonsense safety standards for girls and women seeking abortion, and moms and dads will be shut out of their minor daughter’s abortion decision, leaving her to go through the painful and scary process alone. Abortion is legal in Arizona up to 15-weeks and we have common sense safety precautions to protect girls and women. It’s reckless to lose those safety precautions just to expand abortion beyond what most voters support.”

The ballot initiative would be the second measure in Arizona’s history related to abortion. In 1992, voters rejected Proposition 110, which would have prohibited abortion in Arizona, except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the pregnant woman, and banned the use of state funds for abortions.

Following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2022, which overturned Roe v. Wade, seven abortion-related measures appeared on the ballot. In 2022, there were six ballot measures addressing abortion—the most on record for a single year. Three—in California, Michigan, and Vermont—proposed enacting state constitutional rights to abortion, and each one was approved. The most recent abortion-related ballot measure to be passed by voters was Ohio Issue 1, which voters approved in Nov. 2023.