AZ Gov. Katie Hobbs is backing an effort to enshrine the right to abortion into Arizona law and at the same time, doing her part to ensure that Joe Biden wins the 2024 election. If recent elections in VA and OH are any indicator, abortion is a driving influence to get younger, more liberal voters to the polls. The move is seen by many as a “Hail Mary” attempt to save Joe Biden.
The bill, criticized as allowing “abortion on demand,” even up to the moment of birth, is being criticized as going too far by allowing late-term abortion. According to Cathi Herrod, executive director of the Center for Arizona Policy, the bill would enshrine language prohibiting the state from protecting the lives of viable children. She is actively trying to convince people not to sign the petition or, if it makes the ballot, to oppose it.
The motion, intentionally designed as a constitutional amendment, could provide a basis for overriding existing statutes, such as the 24-hour waiting period and limits on procedure location. It also could block future legislation curbing abortions. Backers have until July 3, 2023, to gather the minimum 383,923 valid signatures required for inclusion on the ballot.
Although Republican efforts resulting in overturning Roe v Wade cited the 10th Amendment – States’ Rights – as its driving force, few saw the dramatic impact it would have on Democrat voter turnout. Similar legislation resulted in dramatic wins for down-ballot Democrat lawmakers, creating concern within the Republican party.
Abortion rights advocates created the petition due to concerns over an impending December 12, 2023, Arizona Supreme Court case set to review the reinstatement of the state’s territorial-era law banning abortions except to save the life of the mother. The review derived from a trial court affirming the reinstatement while an Appellate court deemed it was superseded by a 2022 state law allowing doctors to perform abortions through the 15th week of pregnancy.
Petition backers hope to create a state constitutional amendment that will permanently settle the law. Republicans see it as a sneaky way of securing a Joe Biden presidential win.
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