Arizona Democrats join Women's March for abortion rights: 'We are on a razor's edge'

The nationwide demonstrations come just one month before Election Day.

October 8, 2022, 7:16 PM

PHOENIX -- In partnership with Women's Marches across the country, hundreds of Arizonans of all ages and races gathered with colorful signs outside the state capitol building Saturday to rally for abortion rights exactly one month before Election Day.

"Let's fight like women's lives are on the line, because they are," Katie Hobbs, the Democratic nominee for governor, told the crowd.

A key swing state this November, Arizona's become a battleground for abortion rights since the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade -- a ruling that's impacted electoral politics across the nation this midterm cycle.

"We are on the razor's edge," said Kris Mayes, the Democratic candidate for attorney general. "The razor's edge of civility versus chaos, the razor's edge of democracy versus autocracy, the razor's edge of sanity versus instability, the razor's edge of women's reproductive freedom versus forced birth -- and we are not going down that road."

Women's March said it planned 450 demonstrations across the country on Saturday, with rallies happening in New York, Washington and other cities.

PHOTO: Demonstrators hold signs as they rally during the Women's March in Washington,  Oct. 8, 2022.
Demonstrators hold signs as they rally during the Women's March in Washington, Oct. 8, 2022.
Jose Luis Magana/AP

Abortion rights activists notched two wins Friday when restrictive laws were temporarily struck down, one in Ohio and the other in Arizona.

The decision by the Arizona Court of Appeals has allowed abortions to resume by temporarily halting the enforcement of a near-total abortion ban established 121 years ago until a full appeal is heard.

Until then, the Republican-led state legislature's new law prohibiting the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy is in place.

Mayes called the appellate court's decision "welcome news" but she maintained the battle over abortion rights has only just begun -- "and is on the ballot in more than one way."

Allison Bucy yells into a bullhorn during the 2022 Women's March with the theme "We Demand Our Rights" in anticipation of the upcoming U.S. midterm elections on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 8, 2022.
Amanda Andrade-rhoades/Reuters

Kari Lake and Abe Hamadeh -- Hobbs' and Mayes' Republican opponents -- have said they support the territorial-era ban criminalizing nearly all abortions except in cases to protect the mother's life. Hamadeh, at a debate against Mayes last month, said he'd follow the law, and Lake has said she's not calling for any changes to the law.

"A lot of people are really fired up, especially with a lot of changes just like the overturning of Roe v. Wade, so many more people are involved in these elections," Connor Swenson, an 18-year-old high schooler and voter registration advocate who will be voting in their first election, told ABC News at the rally. "And they feel like there's a part of them that needs to be represented."

A woman shouts during the annual Women's March to support Women's Rights in Washington, D.C, Oct. 8, 2022.
Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

A state senate candidate running in one of Arizona's most competitive districts shared her own abortion story with the crowd, choking up as she described picking out a name for her baby only to find out at nine weeks her pregnancy was not viable.

"The safest thing for me at that time was to terminate the pregnancy that was destined for a miscarriage," Democrat Eva Burch told ABC News before her speech on Saturday. "And to think that women would no longer be able to have that option is horrifying for me because abortion is healthcare. My abortion was healthcare."

Burch, also a nurse practitioner for women's reproductive health, described the effects she's seen since the state's new bans -- including patients who want to get pregnant that are avoiding trying out of concern for their care, and other patients trying to self-manage their abortions.

"I've heard multiple situations, in particular, women who are trying to self-manage abortions either by ordering medications or like getting them from places where it's not secure," Burch said.

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