Thoughts on the Failed Abortion Rights Initiative

An effort to ensure abortion rights in Arizona failed to get enough signatures to get on the November ballot. The Right to Reproductive Freedom Act would have left matters from birth control to abortion in the hands of women and their doctors, and would have barred any government efforts to penalize or restrict any licensed medical professional who provides services involving reproductive rights. The initiative launched in mid-May.

Gathering 175,000 signatures in 60 days is a tremendous achievement and signals that there can be a successful citizens’ initiative to legalize abortion in Arizona in 2024. Terry Goddard’s Dirty Money initiative succeeded today on its third try. The Voting Rights initiative succeeded today on its second try.

This loss will frustrate and demoralize some among us. We hope these feelings will not paralyze anyone from continuing the fight. It’s unfair and immoral that we are having to fight this battle. Yet, here we are. Are we not going to fight?

It took 50 years for Republicans to overturn Roe. 50 years of winning elections, recruiting judges, and chess moves in Congress. We can amend the Arizona Constitution in 2024 and restore abortion rights in less than 3 years. Here’s the plan:

We must elect a Governor with a veto pen to block the Legislature from making it even more difficult for citizens’ initiatives to get on the ballot.

Meanwhile, we need to stand together to help those in need of abortion services in any way we can.

Among the stop-gap measures is resisting GOP efforts to restrict interstate travel for abortion services – and the best way to do that is to increase the number of Democrats in the U.S. Senate. That’s a big job — our part in it is to re-elect Senator Mark Kelly. We must do our work here, knowing there are people like us in other states working just as hard to elect another 2-3 new Democrats to the Senate to give the majority needed to get things done.

Then, in 2023, we start circulating petitions. With a year to gather signatures, this can be done.

Update, July 8: President Biden is not holding back on what’s at stake.

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