Michigan abortion ballot drive nears signature goal in final push for Nov. election

Proposal would codify right to abortion in state

DETROIT, MI - JUNE 24: Abortion rights demonstrators chant as they gather to protest the Supreme Court's decision in the Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health case on June 24, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. The Court's decision in the Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health case overturns the landmark 50-year-old Roe v Wade case, removing a federal right to an abortion. (Photo by Emily Elconin/Getty Images) (EMILY ELCONIN, 2022 Getty Images)

A push to add a proposal to the November ballot on the right to an abortion in Michigan is nearing its signature goal.

Reproductive Freedom for All, backed by the Michigan ACLU, Planned Parenthood of Michigan and Michigan Voices, would amend the Michigan constitution to affirm “that every person has the fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which involves the right to make and carry out decisions without political interference about all matters relating to pregnancy, including birth control, abortion, prenatal care, and childbirth.”

Specifically, “this measure will ensure that all Michiganders have the right to safe and respectful care during birthing, everyone has the right to use temporary or permanent birth control, everyone has the right to continue or end a pregnancy pre-viability, and no one can be punished for having a miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion.”

As of Tuesday, the signature campaign had reached the minimum threshold (425,059 signatures), but organizers are pushing through the July 11 deadline to build a safe cushion in case some signatures are rejected by canvassers, which is a normal tactic for any ballot initiative.

A renewed focus has been placed on the initiative, which seeks to place the proposal on the November ballot in Michigan after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last week, taking away the constitutional right to an abortion for millions of people.

“We have had a massive increase of support across the state for our Reproductive Freedom for All ballot measure since we, along with our partners Michigan Voices and Planned Parenthood of Michigan, launched the campaign. People across the state and nation have doubled down on that support since SCOTUS overturned Roe. Michigan residents support a person’s legal right to have an abortion, and all decisions regarding reproductive health. Together, we will ensure these rights are enshrined in our state constitution.” said Merissa Kovach, Legislative Director with ACLU of Michigan.

Currently, abortion remains legal in Michigan as the courts work through a lawsuit against the state’s 1931 abortion law.

“As it currently stands, providing abortion care in Michigan cannot be prosecuted, and I encourage those with appointments to move forward as scheduled and consult with their doctors,” Nessel said Monday. “Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling last week, I remain committed to ensuring a woman’s right to choose and will continue to fight against every attempt to limit access to care. This includes ensuring Michiganders are properly informed regarding the current state court battle that is far from over.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also took action Monday, concerned about the confusion that legal battles have caused for Michiganders regarding abortion rights and regulation. The governor on Monday sent a request to the state supreme court to “immediately consider her lawsuit to decide if Michigan’s state constitution protects the right to abortion,” a press release reads.

More: Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade: What that means for abortion access in Michigan


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Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.