Michigan abortion vote measure to go to voters in November
In her majority opinion, Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack called the actions of opposition members on the Elections Commission a “sad marker of the times.”
“They would disenfranchise millions of Michiganders not because they believe the thousands of Michiganders who signed the proposal were confused by it, but because they believe they have identified a technicality that allows them to do so, a game of gotcha gone badly wrong,” she wrote.
The Reproductive Freedom for All campaign, which led the signature campaign behind the ballot question, said its efforts will now shift to voter turnout in November.
“We are more energized and motivated than ever to restore the protections that have been lost under deersaid Darci McConnell, spokesperson for the group, in a statement.
A women’s clinic run by two generations of women fitted for the post-Roe era
After the election committee’s stalemate last month, the RFFA campaign has asked judges to fast-track a decision before the September 9 deadline, when the wording of constitutional amendments and legislative referendums must be finalized for the ballot. november. Final ballots are mailed to foreign and military voters beginning Sept. 24.
In its petition, the Campaign for Reproductive Rights argued that the council ‘abandoned its clear legal obligation’ when it refused to add the measure to the ballot despite meeting the necessary legal requirements.
Anti-abortion group Citizens to Support MI Women and Children first raised objections to the proposal in August. The group filed a state challenge arguing that the typographical and spacing errors created “strings of gibberish” that should be disqualified for placement in the state constitution.
The group pointed to three passages in the proposal where spacing issues created typos, including “RULING ON ALL PREGNANCY MATTERS” and “POSTPARTUMCARE,” though legislative experts rejected that argument in various court documents and amicus briefs.
Christen Pollo, spokeswoman for the group, said she was confident Michigan voters would reject the referendum question, which will appear on the ballot as Proposition 3.
“The consequences of this [amendment] go extremely far,” Pollo told The Washington Post on Thursday. “Voters must say no to Proposition 3 to avoid this confusing and extreme mess of our state constitution.”
Since Roe vs. Wade was canceled in June, the fight for access to abortion has been particularly intense in the reliable purple state. Before the U.S. Supreme Court released its ruling, Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) and Michigan’s Planned Parenthood filed separate lawsuits to block the state’s nearly century-old abortion law to come into force. If enforced, the law would make virtually all abortions, except those performed to save the life of the mother, prosecutable as a felony carrying a sentence of up to four years in prison.
If Michigan voters decide to protect abortion rights, the state will join Illinois and Minnesota as the only states in the Upper Midwest where abortion remains or is likely to remain legal. These states have already become a haven for women in this part of the country.
The high-stakes ballot measure is expected to draw voters from both sides of the aisle to the polls, which could have implications for the gubernatorial race. Recent polls indicate that Whitmer has a lead over his Republican challenger, Tudor Dixon. Moderate Republicans — a key voting group — can vote one way on abortion and another for governors or down races.
“Assuming we still have a red wave, the obvious and very important speed bump are pro-choice voters and skinny conservatives,” said Jason Roe, GOP political strategist and former executive director of the Republican Party of Michigan. “If the initiative is on the ballot, it gives them the opportunity to vote to determine what the abortion policy is in Michigan, but also to vote for Republican candidates.”
Four more states — California, Kentucky, Montana and Vermont — will submit ballot measures to voters this fall. The California and Vermont proposals will ask whether voters want to enshrine the right to abortion in state law, while the Kentucky and Montana questions ask whether voters want to pass laws banning abortion.
In August, Kansas voters overwhelmingly rejected an election measure that would have removed abortion protections from state law.