Women's demonstration for abortion.
Women's demonstration for abortion. Unsplash/Manny Becerra

Groups advocating for the inclusion of reproductive rights in Arizona's state constitution announced on Tuesday that they have surpassed the signature threshold required to place an amendment on abortion on the state's ballot in November.

This means that Arizona will likely join other states which are set to directly ask voters if they want to enshrine abortion access in the state constitution—an issue that has taken center stage in the 2024 presidential elections, as the issue could help tip the scale in several races.

Democrats tend to believe that the inclusion of a referendum on the ballots could motivate a greater number of Latino voters to head to the polls in November, according to Democratic strategists in Florida.

The position of the Democratic party has shown to be consistent following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022, putting states in control of abortion policy.

Since then, the majority of Democrat-dominated states have passed laws or issued executive orders aimed at safeguarding access to abortion. Conversely, Republican-controlled states have introduced new abortion restrictions, including bans at every stage of pregnancy in 14 states.

Person deciding hot to vote
Person pondering their vote Unsplash.com/ Phil Scroggs

Arizona is currently dealing with two contradictory abortion bans: one from the 1860s that is nearly comprehensive and another, a 15-week ban enacted by Republican legislators in 2022.

The case is currently awaiting a decision from the state Supreme Court, but, meanwhile physicians are permitted to conduct abortions after 15 weeks only in cases of medical emergencies to save the mother's life, but not in cases of rape or incest.

Arizona stands out as the swing state with the closest electoral margin set to have an abortion measure on the ballot. Four years ago, Biden secured the victory in that state by a margin of only 0.3 percentage points.

There are a total of eleven states that are likely to take abortion rights measures on the ballot in November. Florida, Maryland and New York are confirmed, while Arizona, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Nevada, Missouri and Arkansas.

On Monday, Florida's Supreme Court approved a comparable November ballot initiative, while also affirming the state's existing abortion restrictions. Four years ago, Trump secured victory in Florida by 3.4 percentage points.

"This is an issue that people are eager to see on the ballot," said Cheryl Bruce, the campaign manager for Arizona for Abortion Access, a coalition of reproductive rights organizations including the ACLU of Arizona and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona. "As our volunteers are out collecting, people are coming up to them, folks are coming up to them and wanting to sign this petition."

The petition to include a referendum on abortion rights in Arizona's constitution has gathered 506,892 signatures as of this past weekend, according to the coalition. The threshold to place a measure on the ballot is 383,923 signatures, and the coalition still has until July 3 to submit the signatures to Arizona's secretary of state, a NBC News article details.

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