Michigan Activists Submit Signatures to Put Abortion Rights on November Ballot

If voters support the Reproductive Freedom for All Amendment, it will include permanent protection in Michigan’s constitution not only for abortion, but for other reproductive health services, including miscarriage treatment, birth control, prenatal care, and in vitro fertilization. It would also prevent the state’s 1931 abortion ban from being reinstated if state courts upheld it in two pending cases. The injunction remains blocked by a preliminary injunction from a lower court.

While just over 425,000 Michigan registered voter signatures are required to vote, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and other groups behind the campaign have submitted more than 753,759 signatures and say they have collected them in every one of the state’s 83 counties.

René Celian, campaign leader who runs a chain of abortion clinics and spoke with POLITICO in June about her own pre-Caviar illegal abortion, called Monday’s signature filing “an important step forward towards restoring the freedoms and protection Rowe vs. Wade. ”

According to her, this measure “will give the right to make personal decisions about pregnancy and when to bring new life into the world, back into the hands of pregnant women, not politicians.”

Progressive activists in Michigan have been planning the ballot initiative for years as they expected federal protection to collapse. Officially, they started at the beginning of 2022 – after oral arguments in the Supreme Court of many who convinced of the fall Rowe vs. Wade was inevitable. While signature collection started slowly, interest soared and tens of thousands of volunteers volunteered after POLITICO published a draft opinion repealing Caviar in the beginning of May. When the decision was made in late June, they launched an even higher broadcast — covering the state to collect signatures at Pride parades, farmers’ markets, libraries, outdoor concerts, agricultural festivals and parties.

“After the leak, we have 30,000 new volunteers,” Ayoub said. “But in more than a week after the decision, it doubled to over 60,000 people. We have never seen anything like it before. And when the collection of signatures comes to an end, they can’t wait to talk to voters and get it passed.”

If the amendment is approved for a vote, abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion groups expect a tough and costly fight. Both sides say they will be calling, knocking on doors, running ads, holding rallies and mobilizing community groups ahead of November, when the state’s governor and Democratic attorney general are also up for re-election.

“We will start our massive campaign after the signatures are certified, but we are doing our best right now. We don’t want to sit back and wait and miss the time to report this,” said Anna-Marie Visser, director of communications for Michigan’s Right to Life. “We want to educate the public and let them know that even if you’re pro-choice, you shouldn’t want it in the state constitution.”