We all deserve to thrive, no matter if and how we decide to grow our families.
Whether you want a family, already have children, or know you’re not ready, having access to abortion care in our community gives us power over our own futures. Deciding if, how, and when to grow our families is one of the most important decisions we make in life. When full reproductive healthcare services are available and affordable to us, we can do what’s best for ourselves and for those we love. With the right resources and support, we can all thrive.
What Is Reproductive Justice?
Reproductive Justice is the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities (as defined by Sister Song). When Arizona’s government passes policies and laws that dictate and restrict what our bodies are allowed to do and how it can be done, we lose our bodily autonomy - the freedom to decide what is right for ourselves.
Reproductive Justice is not only limited to personal control over our physical bodies, it also focuses on the environment and communities in which we raise our families. When our towns are economically unstable and lack employment opportunities with fair wages and health benefits, we struggle to make ends meet to provide for our family. We cannot take care of our health and well-being the way we deserve to be able to. People of color face additional barriers because of systemic racial inequalities. Native American, Latin, and Black communities have the highest poverty rates in Arizona.
It’s also time to end the myth that abortion is only a women’s problem. Access to legal and safe abortions impact everyone, including families, partners, friends, children, and communities. Making it to an abortion appointment should not be a strenuous process. We need to work on changing policies that create barriers to care. We need to change the narrative that stigmatizes the people who choose abortion. Anyone with a uterus who can get pregnant, including non-binary, trans, LGBTQ+ folk and women, especially those from marginalized communities, are most impacted by restrictive laws and barriers to care.
1 in 4
People have abortions
Abortion Patients have a religious affiliation
People seek abortion because they can’t afford to have a child, increasing their risk of living in poverty
AFAZ Callers who are already parents
Callers have traveled to another city to get an abortion
But for too many people across our state, this isn’t the reality. Arizonans face some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, including:
Mandatory counseling appointment and ultrasound
24-hour waiting period between ultrasound and procedure
Only medical physicians are allowed to perform abortions and administer medication
Ban on telemedicine for abortion medication
This year, a new restriction will go into effect in September of 2021, banning abortion for a genetic abnormality
Over the years, these restrictive policies have caused clinics to shut down across the state. Today, we only have nine clinics providing abortion care in Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff.
Restrictions and barriers impact patients who call the Abortion Fund of Arizona every day. Even if they can afford the procedure, they’ll also need to stay for one to three nights due to the mandatory waiting period, adding travel and lodging costs for anyone who doesn’t live near a clinic. On top of that, they may have to find childcare if they are already parents, and take unpaid time off work. The logistical and financial burdens created by these barriers are more than many people can afford.
Pregnant People in Rural Arizona Lack Resources Across the Board
Abortion isn’t the only form of reproductive healthcare that is lacking for pregnant people living in rural areas. A recent study from the University of Arizona’s Center for Rural Health found that 8 out of 15 counties in Arizona have less than 10 OBGYNs available, while two have no access to OBGYN care and maternal health services at all.
If a person living in rural Arizona is unable to gain access to the reproductive healthcare needed to end an unwanted pregnancy, they are also very likely to have limited or no access to prenatal and postpartum care. This can lead to complications or dangerous environments for both the pregnant person and fetus. Adding more restrictions to reproductive healthcare only makes matters worse.
The Future of Abortion Access in Arizona
Lawmakers in Arizona and across the country have been able to put laws in the way that affect people differently based on where they live and who they are. Many Arizonans already struggle without access to a clinic, cannot afford an abortion, and are forced to continue pregnancies because of geographic, economic, racial, and legal barriers. The legal right to abortion that was established by Roe vs. Wade doesn’t guarantee real access to it.
That’s why we’re building toward a future where all people in Arizona -- no matter who we are or where we live -- have the power, resources, and support we need to get abortion care and thrive with happy, safe, and healthy families and communities.
It’s going to take all of us working together. Join us!