Michigan campaign to protect right to abortion at the ballot sees explosion in volunteers

There’s a huge jump in interest in Reproductive Freedom for All after leak of SCOTUS draft to overturn ‘Roe v. Wade’

click to enlarge Detroiters march for abortion rights following news that ‘Roe v. Wade’ could soon be overturned. - Viola Klocko
Viola Klocko
Detroiters march for abortion rights following news that ‘Roe v. Wade’ could soon be overturned.

Since March, Reproductive Freedom for All has been petitioning to get a measure on the Michigan November ballot affirming the right to abortion. Interest in the organization’s efforts to amend the state’s constitution has skyrocketed since a draft of the Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked on Monday.

In just 24 hours, the organization saw roughly 900 more volunteers sign up to assist in collecting signatures for the campaign, Axios reports. Previously, the campaign had around 2,000 volunteers total.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. If the landmark Roe v. Wade decision is overturned, Michigan’s antiquated 1931 abortion ban would be enforceable. This means doctors who perform abortions and women who self-abort can be prosecuted with no exceptions made for cases of rape or incest. The law was deemed unconstitutional following the Roe decision, but was never repealed and is still on the books.

"Unfortunately, it takes a horrific draft decision leak to have people see what’s happening," Dana Chicklas, spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, told Axios.

The fight is on as Michigan democrats take pre-emptive measures and vow to protect abortion rights. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tweeted on Tuesday that she would “keep fighting like hell” to make sure abortion remains safe and legal in the state. Meanwhile, Attorney General Dana Nessel pledged not to prosecute women or doctors under the 1931 abortion ban at a press conference.

“I’m not going to enforce the law, nor will I defend the law, which I believe is unconstitutional,” Nessel said at the Tuesday conference. She added, “I don’t want to do anything that will cause women to be seriously harmed or die. This is not what I’m going to utilize the resources of the state on.”

Whitmer also filed a lawsuit back in April urging courts to resolve whether abortion is protected by Michigan’s constitution.

To qualify for the November ballot, Reproductive Freedom for All needs to collect 425,059 signatures from registered Michigan voters by July 11. If the proposal gets on the ballot and passes, it would go into effect 45 days later.

State Rep. Laurie Pohutsky, D-Livonia, called the ballot effort the best shot to protect abortion rights.

“Given the crisis situation we’re in right now, when folks ask me ‘What can I do?’ I am steering them to that ballot initiative," she reportedly said, adding. “It’s going to be wildly popular and it’s more manageable than flipping both chambers and maintaining a Democratic governor.”

More information on the effort is available at mireproductivefreedom.org.

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About The Author

Randiah Camille Green

After living in Japan and traveling across Asia, Randiah Camille Green realized Detroit will always be home. And when she says Detroit, she's talking about the hood, not the suburbs. She has bylines in Planet Detroit News , Bridge Detroit , BLAC magazine, and Model D .Her favorite pastimes are meditating on...
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