Board of directors asks about abortion rights in Michigan fall ballot


Published: 09/10/2022 00:58:36

Modified: 09/10/2022 00:54:50

LANSING, Michigan — A Michigan election committee tabled an abortion rights proposal in the fall ballot on Friday, obeying an order from the state’s highest court and ending a record-breaking petition campaign to try to change the state constitution.

The amendment would affirm Michigan’s right to make pregnancy-related decisions without interference, including abortion and other reproductive services such as birth control.

The Michigan Supreme Court ordered the Board of State Solicitors a day earlier to put him on the Nov. 8 ballot. The board, made up of two Democrats and two Republicans, killed the proposal in a tie vote last week, with GOP members siding with abortion opponents who said the petition had incorrect or no spacing between some words.

Chief Justice Bridget McCormack derisively called it “a game of gotcha gone horribly wrong.” She said the words were legible and in the correct order.

People cheered and cheered as the board voted 4-0 on Friday to add him to the ballot.

“We got that clarity,” said Republican board member Tony Daunt, who did not respond to McCormack’s criticism. “There was never any doubt in my mind that once the court said what we were going to do.”

The other GOP member, Richard Houskamp, ​​denied any partisanship in rejecting the proposal on August 31.

There are political implications beyond the issue of the ballot.

Democrats say the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is mobilizing voters and helping Democratic candidates this fall, when the top races, including governor, secretary of state and attorney general, are on the Michigan ballot. They point to conservative Kansas, where voters overwhelmingly rejected a measure that would have allowed the Republican-controlled legislature to tighten restrictions or ban the procedure outright.

In Michigan, abortion-rights supporters submitted more than 750,000 signatures, easily crossing the minimum threshold and setting a record for a ballot initiative.

Speaking to the board ahead of the vote, volunteers Elizabeth Buckner and Beata Lamparski said they had collected more than 5,400 signatures from 38 counties, including signatures from people who oppose abortion but believe the voters have the right to decide the question.

“We picked up when it was so cold our fingers were barely working and when it was so hot we could barely stand. … We did our job. Now I ask you to do your job,” Lamparski said.

Abortion remained legal in Michigan even after Roe’s fall. A 1931 law that criminalizes most abortions was suspended by a judge last spring and ruled unconstitutional this week.

But this decision can be appealed. If the voters approve the constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to abortion, any legal fight would be pointless.

A poll released this week by The Detroit News and WDIV-TV showed abortion and women’s rights were the top issues motivating Michigan residents to vote in November, ahead of inflation, education and the economy. . The poll showed that a majority of likely voters supported the amendment to protect abortion rights.

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White reported from Detroit.

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Joey Cappelletti is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on underreported issues.

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