Published By: KVOA
Author: Erik Fink
TUCSON (KVOA) - Just days after the Arizona State Supreme Court gathered to hear a case that could take abortion law in Arizona back more than a century, pro-choice supporters gathered Monday night on Tucson's westside to get to work protecting abortion access.
"It doesn't make sense for people to force their opinion on us," University of Arizona senior Melissa Ochoa said. "I just don't feel comfortable knowing a bunch of other people want to have a say while the child is in my body, but they won't have a say when the child is out of my body."
On the other side sits Cindy Dahlgren who's with the pro-life group Center for Arizona Policy.
"We are cautiously optimistic at this point that the lower court decision will be reversed because that court ignored the legislature's clear intent to preserve the pre-Roe law," Dahlgren said. "Over the past 50 years, the state legislature had many opportunities to repeal the pre-Roe law and they did not."
The current state law allows abortion in Arizona up to 15-weeks of pregnancy and in cases where the mother's life is in danger.
Pro-choice supporters across the state are working to get the Arizona Abortion Access Act to the ballot in the fall of 2024.
There is collective effort underway by various groups to get a measure in front of Arizona voters in just over a year that would protect abortion rights in the state constitution.
"Abortion is healthcare, that's where it is," Amy Fitch-Heacock with Arizonans For Reproductive Freedom said. "A constitutional amendment is the straightest way forward. It is the way we can get rid of the bad statute, we can go forward and say 8 in 10 Arizonans agree that abortion should be safe and legal and it should be a decision that is made between a doctor and the person who's pregnant."
"If this constitutional amendment passes we will end up in Arizona having a California or New York style abortion law, where taxpayers will be paying for abortions, where abortions will be legal up to the point of birth," Dahlgren said.
Fitch-Heacock said Dahlgren's belief is patently false.
"While the amendment does not have a specific week limit, it mentions viability. Fitch-Heacock maintains an amendment puts that decision in the hands of women and their doctors.
The pro-choice groups have to collect upwards of 384,000 from registered voters by next July 3 to get that question on the ballot next fall.