For Immediate Release: Thursday, September 30, 2021
Phoenix, Arizona — Yesterday, after portions of the law were blocked at the 11th hour, a sweeping bill severely restricting access to abortion care in Arizona took effect (SB 1457). While a federal district court judge blocked the provisions that would have banned abortion based on the perceived reason a person seeks care, other restrictions on abortion access signed into law by anti-choice Republican Governor Doug Ducey in April went into effect. This case was filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and ACLU of Arizona on behalf of two Arizona physicians, the Arizona Medical Association, the National Council of Jewish Women Arizona, and the Arizona National Organization of Women.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Southwest Regional Director Caroline Mello Roberson released the following statement in response:
“Reproductive freedom is under assault around the country, and Governor Ducey and other anti-choice Republican lawmakers have chosen to pile onto the all-out attack. As portions of SB 1457 go into effect, Arizona families are directly endangered by this law’s sweeping consequences, blocking people from accessing the care they need. But make no mistake — abortion is still legal in Arizona. NARAL Pro-Choice America and our more than 52,000 members in Arizona will be working until Election Day and beyond to ensure anyone who supported this draconian bill is held accountable at the ballot box for putting politics over our health and well-being.”
NARAL rallied more than 30,000 Arizonans to voice their opposition to legislation attacking reproductive freedom in a flood of calls, emails, and texts to Gov. Ducey and other Republican state lawmakers. While SB 1457 was pushed through the legislature with a narrow party-line vote, it was the only bill of more than a dozen anti-choice bills introduced by Republicans in 2021 to continue through final passage. And after the state legislature passed this bill rolling back access to abortion, thousands of Arizonans signed NARAL’s petition calling on Gov. Ducey to veto it.
Arizona already has some of the most severe restrictions on reproductive freedom in the United States, including forcing delays before a person can access abortion care and subjecting people to mandatory biased counseling. These restrictions disproportionately harm Black, Indigenous, and people of color; those with low incomes; and people living in rural communities. Additionally, Arizona still has a near-total abortion ban in place that was enacted before Roe v. Wade. While it’s not currently enforced, that all could change if Roe falls. This bill is a part of a coordinated effort by the Right to maintain white patriarchal control at all costs.
A 2020 Public Policy Survey found that a strong majority (76%) of Arizona voters believe that abortion should be legal and the government should not prevent a woman from making that decision for herself. A majority of voters also agree it is important for state legislators to proactively protect the right to abortion through state legislation. The chasm between these values and efforts by anti-choice state lawmakers to restrict reproductive freedom show the electoral vulnerability of anti-choice lawmakers—and explains why they are barely holding onto their majority with a razor-thin margin.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, paid family leave, and protections from pregnancy discrimination—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support safe, legal abortion.