Groups seeking to codify the right to abortion care in Michigan have submitted a record number of signatures in favor of a ballot initiative that would put the vote up to Michiganders this fall.
Reproductive Freedom for All, which is backed by the Michigan ACLU, Planned Parenthood of Michigan and Michigan Voices, on Monday submitted 753,759 signatures from every county in the state to the Michigan Secretary of State. If the signatures qualify, the proposal will appear on the Nov. 8, 2022, ballot.
On Monday morning, members of the group announced the submission of the signatures, which are greater than any other ballot drive in state history, according to the ACLU. This live stream has ended.
In order to qualify, the initiative was required to gather 425,059 valid signatures of registered Michigan voters. Almost twice the required amount was submitted Monday, July 11, the deadline to submit.
Reproductive Freedom for All 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.”
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 month, taking away the constitutional right to an abortion for millions of people.
ACLU of Michigan Executive Director Loren Khogali released this statement: “The vast majority of Michiganders know that abortion is healthcare: Michigan is on the right side of history as we lead the way with Reproductive Freedom for All and intend to ask Michigan voters on November 8 to protect abortion and reproductive rights in Michigan. The Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade will not take away the rights and freedoms of people in Michigan to determine if and when they become a parent. We will not allow forced pregnancy in our state, nor will we stand by as the devastating impacts of a post-Roe world disproportionately impact people of color, LGBTQ+ communities, young people, low-income people, and those living in rural areas. This is your body, your ballot, your choice.”
Currently, abortion remains legal in Michigan as the courts work through a lawsuit against the state’s 1931 abortion law. In a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and Planned Parenthood of Michigan, a Court of Claims judge issued a preliminary injunction that temporarily blocks the enforcement of Michigan’s nearly century-old abortion ban.
“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 last month. “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.”
In anticipation of Roe getting overturned, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer filed a lawsuit similar to the one filed by the ACLU and PPMI, in hopes of getting the state’s 1931 abortion ban completely overturned. She has asked the state supreme court to directly hear the case, but the high court has not yet said whether they will hear it.
Concerned about the confusion that legal battles have caused for Michiganders regarding abortion rights and regulation, Whitmer reached out to the court regarding her lawsuit. The governor 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.