Student Newswire of The University of Arizona School of Journalism

Arizona Sonoran News

Arizona Sonoran News

Student Newswire of The University of Arizona School of Journalism

Arizona Sonoran News

In wake of abortion ruling, activists start fighting back

Protestors gathered in downtown Tucson just hours after the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that an 1864 abortion ban can be enforced. Photo by Amy Fitch-Heacock.

Opponents of the state Supreme Court’s move on Tuesday to uphold an 1864 law that bans nearly all abortion in the state are already filing legal challenges to the decision, and activists have doubled-down on their efforts to get abortion on the ballot in November.

For local organizers, the court’s ruling prompted outrage, but also proved to be a catalyst for further action. 

On Tuesday evening, protestors were already voicing their discontent in downtown Tucson.  

Isa Mundo is an organizer with Stand Up, Fight Back, a local organization dedicated to street action in support of various political causes. Her group was present at Tuesday’s protest, which she said drew a couple dozen people last-minute. 

“In the wake of yesterday’s events, it gave me hope,” she said.

Mundo is also planning an email campaign to state representatives and pushing to unite local organizers in their actions. 

“We need as much visibility as possible,” she said.

Arizonans for Reproductive Freedom, was part of Tuesday’s protest and Amy Fitch-Heacock, an executive board member and spokesperson for the group said they already are working on another event for this weekend. 

For Fitch-Heacock, who also is a co-founder of the Tucson Women’s March, the focus is on continuing education and outreach, even despite the difficult conditions that this state law will create if it is ultimately enforced. 

“My work as an educator could be criminalized if this law is allowed to go into play,” she said.

She’s also promoting the Arizona for Abortion Access petition, which is attempting to gather enough signatures to get an amendment to the state constitution on the ballot in November that would enshrine protections for abortion. 

“In the last few days, it’s been very easy to get signatures,” said Carrie Vas, a Phoenix-based activist gathering petition signatures. 

Vas is also pushing to educate people about the state government and state’s Supreme Court, reminding voters that two of the judges who supported Tuesday’s ruling are up for retention in November and can be voted out. 

The petition already has 500,000 signatures from registered Arizona voters, which is over the approximately 384,000 needed. However, since the state has been very strict about the validity of signatures, organizers are aiming to get 800,000 signatures to ensure they have enough. The measure will then be on the ballot in the fall and, if approved by voters, could become law in January 2025.

“While we’re waiting on that to work, while we’re waiting on an election in November, there’s a very real chance that we will see loss of life in Arizona, and we will absolutely see suffering,” Fitch-Heacock said.

In the meantime, she intends to continue connecting Arizonans with resources, and her group is hosting education sessions to make sure people have accurate, up-to-date information about abortion in Arizona. 

“Anytime anything like this happens, we go through this period where we are ready to jump into action and simultaneously so pissed off that we have to keep doing it,” she said. 


Arizona Sonoran News is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

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About the Contributor
Erika Howlett
Erika Howlett, Reporter
Erika is a senior at the University of Arizona, double-majoring in Spanish and journalism, with a minor in public relations.

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