We’re putting abortion rights in the November ballot

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Organizers of a ballot measure to enshrine abortion rights in the Michigan Constitution said they submitted more voter signatures than any other constitutional amendment in state history to qualify for the November ballot.

If the state election commission certifies the Reproductive Freedom for All Amendment to appear on the ballot, voters can decide the future of abortion access in Michigan after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Roe v. Wade’s decision asserted a national right to abortion for nearly half a century.

Dr. said. Michael Hertz, a retired obstetrician and gynecologist and a volunteer with the Campaign for Reproductive Freedom for All at a press conference where campaign supporters celebrated turning hundreds of thousands of signatures to the amendment, which would constitutionally guarantee the right to abortion.

He said the campaign saw a “wave of participation” that organizers said would help pass the amendment in November.

Elder Leslie Matthews, Director of Transformational Justice, Faith and Justice for Michigan United and an abortion rights campaign volunteer lit up the room, leading supporters in a series of cheers. “My vagina is my business,” she said. She concluded her speech to thunderous applause: “Remember in the month of November every year because we see now that there is a price to be paid.”

Monday marks the deadline for groups seeking constitutional amendments to the ballot to submit their petitions.

Ballot procedures to change Michigan’s constitution must collect at least 425,059 voter signatures, but Planned Parenthood Michigan said in a press release that 753,759 voters from every county in the state signed the abortion rights amendment to put it on the voter’s ballot.

Planned Parenthood advocates in Michigan, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Michigan and the nonprofit Voices of Michigan spearheaded the campaign for Reproductive Freedom for All.

The campaign handed its signatures Monday morning to the state election office, according to a spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office. According to the campaign organizers, more than 2,000 volunteers helped collect signatures.

“We have a real army of volunteers who are standing up to support this initiative” who will encourage their friends and family to support the amendment at the ballot box, ACLU Executive Director Lauren Khojaly said at the press conference Monday.

While Michigan has a so-called Trigger Act from 1931 on books prohibiting abortion, the judge issued an order temporarily suspending enforcement of the law, maintaining legal access to abortions for the time being.

Michigan’s near-total abortion ban provides no exceptions to abortion in cases of rape or incest. It makes an exception for abortions “necessary to preserve the life of (ie a pregnant woman)”. Opponents of the law said the ban does not provide a clear definition of what might justify performing a life-saving abortion and who makes that decision.

The Reproductive Freedom for All amendments propose a new, general right to reproductive freedom in Michigan, including the right to access abortions and birth control without political interference.

The language of the proposed amendment left the door open for regulating abortions “after fetal survival”. The amendment defines this as the point at which a fetus is likely to survive outside the womb “without applying exceptional medical procedures” as determined by the health care professional. The proposed amendment, however, would prevent any ban on abortions deemed medically necessary “to protect the life, physical or mental health of the pregnant individual.”

more: Decision to dismiss the case of Roe v. Wade could destabilize Michigan midterm elections

more: Republican legislature asks court to invalidate injunction in family planning lawsuit

In addition to abortion rights, voters may also have a chance to influence the state’s election rules this fall. Promote the Vote 2022 organizers submitted signatures Monday to put a wide range of electoral changes to voters this fall, including early voting.

There is only one constitutional amendment that is already eligible to vote. The Transparency Voters Constitutional Amendment and Term Limits seeks to reduce the total number of years a state legislator can serve from 14 to 12, but allows the legislature to serve 12 years in either the state or Senate. Currently, state representatives can only serve three two-year terms, and senators can only serve two four-year terms. Voters amended the state constitution in 1992 to set the state’s current term limits.

The amendment would also subject the governor, the deputy governor, the secretary of state attorney general, and state legislators to disclosure of their personal finances.

The Michigan legislature approved the measure to put it on the November ballot earlier this year, allowing regulators to skip having to collect hundreds of thousands of signatures to put the proposal to voters.

The state’s fundraising expert council must determine that the organizers of Reproductive Freedom for All and the Promotion of Voting Amendments have collected enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot at least two months before the general election.

Clara Hendrickson fact-checks Michigan issues and politics as a member of Corps with Report for America, an initiative of the Ground Truth Project. Make a tax-deductible contribution to support her work at bit.ly/freepRFA. Contact her at chendrickson@freepress.com or 313-296-5743. Follow her on Twitter Tweet embed.

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