Decision on Michigan abortion rights proposal coming Wednesday

Posted at 3:57 PM, Aug 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-31 12:59:56-04

(WXYZ) — On Wednesday, the Board of State Canvassers will decide whether or not abortion rights will have a slot on the November ballot.

Last month, petitioners turned in more than 750,000 signatures for the ‘Reproductive Freedom For All’ campaign.

The Reproductive Freedom for All ballot initiative would ensure the right to make pregnancy-related decisions without interference by Michigan Constitution.

RELATED: Michigan panel recommends abortion proposal for ballot

"We have enough valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot," Darci McConnell with Reproduction Freedom for All said.

This record-breaking campaign gathered more signatures than any other ballot initiative in the state.

McConnell says she's hopeful this petition will help reform Michigan’s abortion rights.

"Restore the protections when Roe V. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court but also to avoid reverting to the 1931 law," McConnell said.

Michigan’s 1931 law makes almost all abortions a felony with no exemptions for rape or incest. But, if the ballot initiative gets voted in as part of the state’s constitution, then attorney Todd Flood says it will supersede all other existing abortion laws.

"The arguments are coming from both sides," Flood said. "[One says] this is ultimately going to make it so children don’t have to get parental consent. On the other side, the ambiguity is they want to make sure there is no discrimination based on age and necessity."

Flood says while parental consent will be battled out in court, other issues like fetal viability and late-term abortion will be determined by medical doctors.

But Christen Pollo, spokeswoman for Citizens to Support Michigan Women and Children says voters should be concerned.

"There are 60 mistakes in the language on this proposed amendment," Pollo said.

Pollo points to a line in Article 1 that says, “the state shall not penalize, prosecute, or otherwise take adverse action against someone for aiding or assisting a pregnant individual in exercising their right to reproductive freedom with their voluntary consent."

She claims that this amendment "would repeal health and safety standards that protect women. That it would allow nondoctors to perform abortions. These are dangerous for our state."

According to attorney Cait Malhiot, the language aims to prevent those involved in assisting with abortion from being prosecuted.

"If someone other than a qualified healthcare professional were to perform an abortion they’d be guilty of practicing medicine without a valid license, which is already a felony in Michigan. This proposed amendment wouldn’t change that. it just protects people who help in legal ways," Malhoit says.

Earlier this month Kansas became the first state in the nation to vote on abortion rights as part of its constitution.

Darci McConnell is hopeful for a similar result in Michigan.

"There was a poll that came out recently, that 67% said they support protecting reproductive rights. They also identify this as the number one issue facing the state," she said.

"There may have been a record number of people to sign this, but I don’t believe there are a record number of people who read it, and as we are educating voters, talking about what's hidden in this amendment. Overwhelmingly, they reject this," Christen Pollo said.