Michigan group launches petition for ballot initiative to ‘explicitly affirm’ abortion rights

Anti-abortion activists and supporters of legal abortion gather outside the Supreme Court on the first day of their new term on Monday, October 4, 2021.
UPI Photo

A Michigan abortion rights group is filing a ballot initiative to affirm abortion rights through a constitutional amendment and override an outdated 1931 law prohibiting abortions that would go into effect if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

The organization, Reproductive Freedom for All, is made up of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and the nonprofit Michigan Voices. The group is filing the ballot initiative through the Board of State Canvassers to place it on the ballot for the November election this year.

Abortion rights advocates are seeking to “preserve every individual’s constitutional right to make the very personal decision about reproductive health care, including abortion and keep those decisions between the individual and their medical professional,” said Nic Wells Stallworth, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, on Friday. 

“We all have the right to determine our own futures,” Stallworth said in a statement shared on Twitter.

The amendment would prohibit criminal punishment for an abortion, miscarriage or stillbirth, according to Michigan Advance. It would also invalidate other laws that restrict abortion access, including one only allowing physicians to carry out an abortion.

The Supreme Court is overhearing a case this term over a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi that could overturn the landmark 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade, which established abortion as a private right. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, the 1931 Michigan law prohibiting abortions would go into effect, limiting abortion access for 2.2 million Michiganders.

About 425,059 signatures, which is roughly 10 percent of the votes cast in the last general election in 2018, is required for the ballot initiative to get on the 2022 ballot, according to The Detroit News.

Bills currently in the Michigan state legislature also seek to overturn the 1931 law but have little chance of passing in a Republican-led legislature.

Tags abortion Abortion ban affirmation Courts Detroit law repeal Michigan Reproductive Freedom for All Roe v. Wade

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