If the leaked draft majority opinion in the case directly challenging Roe v. Wade is any indicator, the Supreme Court is about to hand down a decision ending the legal right to abortion as we know it. That could spell disaster here in Arizona, where we are in danger of losing abortion access overnight—and our lawmakers must rise to the occasion or be prepared to lose their seats.
If the Court overturns Roe in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, what happens next would be nothing short of devastating. Should Roe fall, 28 states, including Arizona, would likely take action to prohibit abortion outright. According to the Guttmacher Institute, if the landmark case is overturned, pregnant people in Arizona may see a 2,175 percent increase in driving distance when seeking abortion care out of state—and that’s only if the person has the means to travel to receive care.
The people hurt most by attacks on reproductive freedom in Arizona are those who already face systemic barriers to accessing health care, housing, and employment in our state—including women; Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other people of color; those working to make ends meet; the LGBTQ+ community; immigrants; young people; those living in rural communities and people with disabilities. Not only that, but Arizona is one of nine states that still has a total criminal abortion ban on the books that was enacted before Roe was decided. If Roe falls, that ban could go into effect.
There is no question that the threat is real: Anti-choice lawmakers in the state legislature spent the 2022 session proving that there’s no low they won’t sink to in order to advance their extreme agenda. They pushed a relentless barrage of bans and restrictions on abortion designed to interfere with Arizonans’ freedom to make their own decisions about their families and futures, including bills modeled after Texas’ cruel vigilante-enforced ban on abortion (HB 2483) and a measure to block physicians from providing medication abortion care (HB 2811). And in March, Republican Governor Doug Ducey had the shameful distinction of signing the nation’s first 15-week ban on abortion (SB 1164) of the 2022 legislative session into law.
But why did this happen? Certainly not because Arizonans wanted it. Polling from Change Research shows a strong majority support for reproductive freedom. Nine in 10 Arizona voters agree that we should have the freedom to decide how and when we start or grow a family, free from political interference. This includes 89 percent of independent voters, 82 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Latinx voters.
It’s clear that reproductive freedom in our country and in Arizona face a pivotal moment. That’s exactly why Arizonans are already mobilizing to ensure our legislature reflects our values—but we’ll need each and every one of us in this fight to make it happen.
The Arizona legislature is currently held by a one-vote Republican majority. There are 12 vulnerable seats where lawmakers voted in favor of anti-choice legislation and it’s past time to put those lawmakers on notice that their days in office are numbered.
If you are one of the 9 out of 10 Arizonans that support reproductive freedom because you believe that each of us must be able to make our own decisions about pregnancy without government interference, it’s time for you to vote these lawmakers out. Join us at NARAL Arizona, where we will continue to hold anti-choice Arizona lawmakers accountable for pushing their extreme ideological agenda at the expense of our freedom and well-being.
The message we are sending is clear: When you come for our rights, we come for your seats.
Caroline Mello Roberson is the director of NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona.