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7 Gen Zers React To Arizona’s Near-Total Abortion Ban News

On April 10, the Arizona Supreme Court made the decision to uphold a very old, very strict abortion law — and as soon as news of this decision became public, backlash against it was swift. 

Many criticized the near-totality of the law in question, which provides practically no options for a woman to have an abortion from the moment of conception. Exceptions exist only if the life of the person carrying the fetus is in jeopardy. Yes, this means no abortion would be allowed even in cases of rape or incest. 

The Civil War-era law (specifically from 1864), had been blocked since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision guaranteed the constitutional right to an abortion nationwide, according to AP News. However, Roe v. Wade was overturned back in June 2022, and with that overturn came the opportunity for Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, to persuade a state judge to lift an injunction that blocked enforcement of the 1864 ban. Brnnovich managed to convince a trial court judge that the Civil War-era law should be enforced instead of the 15-week ban that was already in place. This led to an Arizona Supreme Court vote, which ended split 4-2. 

According to the Nebraska Examiner, Justice John R. Lopez IV said the 15-week ban depended on the existence of a federal constitutional right to abortion. Since the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated that right in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling two years ago, the 1864 was ruled to be enforced.

Now, young people within Arizona — and all over the United States — are speaking out to share their distaste for the law.

Of course, Arizonans are most impacted by this ruling, and they have a lot to say on the subject. “The banning of abortion absolutely breaks my heart, as well as makes me extremely angry,” Kayleigh Shaw, 23, from Arizona, tells Her Campus exclusively. “While politicians may think that they’re doing the ‘right’ thing by banning abortions, it just causes more harm because they’re banning safe abortions, and it could lead to more people severely harming themselves. Abortions are a vital piece of healthcare, and should be treated as such.”

Many women feel upset at the idea of politicians (who, let’s face it, are still mostly men) making the decision of what women or those able to get pregnant can do with their bodies. “My body, my choice” has become a commonly used phrase in the fight for abortion rights happening all around the United States, but these cries have been heavily ignored as abortion laws grow stricter in many states. 

“It honestly makes me so nervous. And terribly sad,” says 23-year-old Megan Marks, a Northern Arizona University alum. “It’s not fair that people in charge get to decide what women do or don’t do with their bodies. I’m tired of men thinking they can own us.”

Kyleigh K., a senior at Grand State Canyon University, is especially concerned with the mental and physical toll pregnancy itself takes on a person. “There are so many physiological changes that occur to your body that you have to manage for the rest of your life,” she says. “Even if you give the baby up for adoption, you cannot reverse what carrying a child does to your body.”

According to The Arizona Republic, Arizona became a state on Feb. 14, 1912, making the law 48 years older than even the state itself. For obvious reasons, this doesn’t sit right with many Gen Zers.

“It’s insane that officials in Arizona would even think of enforcing a law that predates its statehood,” Julia Merola, a 22-year-old senior at Temple University, says. “It’s bad enough that Americans’ medical options are determined by their officials; it’s even worse when officials choose to prioritize the opinions of people from more than 150 years ago rather than their actual, current constituents.”

Another anonymous college student adds, “I just can’t believe that a law from the Civil War is able to remain on books.”

For some, this news serves as a dark omen for what the future could hold for other states. “I wonder how many more states will follow suit,” one anonymous college student says.

But for others, it’s a sign to take action. “Seeing the news out of Arizona is really frightening for AFAB [assigned female at birth] people around the country,” Annika Easaw, University at Buffalo sophomore and organizer for the UB Abortion Action Initiative says. “Not only is upholding an incredibly old ruling a dangerous precedent, it is a stark reminder that there is no freedom we can take for granted. Abortion advocates, like myself, will not stop fighting for the freedom of our own bodies.” They also add a reminder for anyone living in a state with abortion laws: “Abortion pills and self-managed abortions are available in all 50 states and are clinically proven to be safe and effective!” 

Addie Whightsil is a Public Relations student at the University of Oklahoma. Beyond academics, Addie's interests extend to the simple pleasures in life. She has an undeniable affection for juice, savoring every drop of its fruity goodness. Her fondness for Jellycats, those irresistibly huggable stuffed animals, adds a touch of whimsy to her daily life. However, what she really loves is sharing personal stories and life lessons for the internet to read.