TUCSON, ARIZONA – At Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse (Emerge), we believe that safety is the foundation for a community free from abuse. The Arizona Supreme Court decision on April 9, 2024 to uphold a century old abortion ban will endanger millions.

Just weeks ago, Emerge celebrated that the Pima County Board of Supervisors declared April Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Having worked with domestic violence (DV) survivors for over 45 years, we understand how often sexual assault and reproductive coercion are used as a means to assert power and control in abusive relationships. This law will force survivors of sexual violence to carry unwanted pregnancies—further stripping them of power over their own bodies. 

As with all systemic forms of oppression, this law will present the greatest danger to the people who are already the most vulnerable. The maternal mortality rate of Black women in this county is nearly three times that of white women. Moreover, Black women experience sexual coercion at double the rate of white women.

“These disparities will only increase when the state is allowed to force pregnancies,” said Anna Harper, Executive VP and Chief Strategy Officer at Emerge. “With the lack of humanity afforded to rape and incest cases and the creation of further risk in DV situations overall, this ruling has far reaching implications.”

The Supreme Court decisions do not reflect the voices or needs of our community. Since 2022, there has been an effort to get an amendment to Arizona’s constitution on the ballot. If passed, it would overrule the Arizona Supreme Court decision and establish the fundamental right to abortion care in Arizona. Through whatever avenues they choose to do so, we are hopeful that our community will stand with survivors and use our collective voice to protect fundamental rights.

Together, we can help return power and agency to survivors who deserve every opportunity to experience liberation from abuse.