GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A campaign to add a state constitutional right to abortion on the November ballot is underway.
The 'Michigan Right to Reproductive Freedom' initiative was created in case Roe v Wade is overturned and a 1931 Michigan trigger law goes into effect, making abortion illegal and criminal in the state.
The organizations that support the initiative are: ACLU of Michigan, Michigan Voices and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.
The ones who oppose it are: The Right to Life of Michigan and Citizens to Support MI Women & Children, a coalition made up of various organizations including: Michigan Catholic Conference, Pregnancy Centers of Southeastern Michigan, Inc. and Alliance for Life-West Michigan.
More than 425,000 signatures are required to put the initiative on the November ballot.
"This ballot initiative which is the first of its kind would proactively enshrine the right to reproductive freedom in the Michigan state's constitution so that no matter what the U.S. Supreme Court does do, the right to abortion will be constitutionally protected in Michigan as well as a full range of health choices as well," said Merissa Kovach, a Policy Strategist for ACLU of Michigan.
"If Roe finally is put on the ash heap of history, we're thrilled," said Genevieve Marnon, the Legislative Director of Right to Life of Michigan. "It's time for this killing to end. We lost 29,669 innocent children last year in the state of Michigan alone in the name of bodily autonomy, women's rights and abortions."
Citizens to Support MI Women & Children argues the amendment would also repeal or drastically alter dozens of state laws including the state's ban on tax-funded abortions, the partial-birth abortion ban, and fundamentally alter the parent-child relationship by preventing parents from having input on their children's health.
The ballot signatures are due July 11, after which time the legislature has 60 days to decide whether or not to pass it, and if it doesn't it'll go on the November ballot.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer filed a lawsuit last month asking the Michigan Supreme Court to resolve whether the state constitution protects the right to abortion. She's brought the case against multiple county prosecutors to try to enjoin them from enforcing the 1931 felony abortion ban if Roe v Wade is overturned.
"In the Governor's case, the Michigan Supreme Court could rule the statute is unconstitutional. Otherwise to repeal it, you'd need to have a majority of legislators in the House and Senate and governor indicates she'd simply sign it," said Attorney General Dana Nessel.
However, the state's Republican-controlled legislature isn't likely to do so.
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