Michigan voters moved to codify reproductive freedom into the state constitution on Tuesday, projections show — a huge victory for abortion rights advocates in a state where a pitched battle has raged for protections against abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Proposition 3, or the Reproductive Freedom Rights Initiative, will amend the Michigan Constitution by adding language to protect reproductive rights, including the right to abortion. The amendment comes at a critical time: Not only will it prevent lawmakers from enacting major abortion restrictions in the future, but it will reverse a 1931 state law which makes abortion illegal in almost all cases.
Enforcement of the 1931 law had been blocked by lower courts, tenuously allowing abortion to remain legal in Michigan, but abortion opponents have appealed those rulings. Passing Michigan’s ballot proposal means the pre-Roe ban is dead and abortion care will continue to be protected.
Proposition 3 defines reproductive freedom as “the right to make and enforce decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including, but not limited to, prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, birth control, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management and infertility care”.
Opponents seized on the words “sterilization” and “infertility care” in a warning before the elections. Anti-abortion groups have argued that Proposition 3 would allow children to seek gender-affirming care without consulting their parents – a bold claim that experts says HuffPost last month just wasn’t true.
Govt. Gretchen Whitmer and attorney general Dana Nessel, both Democrats, have consistently come out in favor of the right to abortion. Until the ballot initiative passed, Whitmer virtually single-handedly blocked state lawmakers seeking to severely restrict or ban abortion. She sued the 1931 law before Roe fell over the summer, seeking to block enforcement of the near-total ban on abortion from taking effect. Both Whitmer and Nessel faced tight re-election races against GOP opponents.
In August, Kansas became the first state since the Supreme Court’s decision to ask voters whether it should further restrict or protect access to abortion. In a historic election, Kansas rejected the anti-abortion constitutional amendment — a massive victory for abortion rights advocates that set the tone nationwide.
Voters in California, Kentucky, Montana and Vermont are also voting midterm on state ballot initiatives to protect or restrict access to abortion care.
This is a developing story. Please check for updates.
The Huffington Gt