Record number of signatures collected to put abortion rights on Michigan ballot in November

The ballot measure would enshrine abortion rights in the state’s constitution

click to enlarge Pro-choice supporters sign a petition in Eastern Market in Detroit to amend the state's constitution to affirm abortion rights. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling
Pro-choice supporters sign a petition in Eastern Market in Detroit to amend the state's constitution to affirm abortion rights.

A coalition that launched a petition drive to amend the state’s constitution to affirm abortion rights plans to turn in a record 753,759 signatures on Monday.

Reproductive Freedom for All must submit about 452,000 valid signatures for the initiative to appear on the November ballot.

“The Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade will not take away the rights and freedoms of people in Michigan to determine if and when they become a parent,” Loren Khogali, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan, said in a statement Monday. “We will not allow forced pregnancy in our state, nor will we stand by as the devastating impacts of a post-Roe world disproportionately impact people of color, LGBTQ+ communities, young people, low-income people, and those living in rural areas. This is your body, your ballot, your choice.”

More than 62,000 people helped collect signatures. Nearly half of them got involved after a leaked draft in early May indicated the U.S. Supreme Court planned to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that legalized abortion in 1973.

Polls have shown that a majority of Michigan voters support abortion rights. In a Detroit News-WDIV poll of 600 likely voters in January, two-thirds of respondents said they oppose the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, with only 19% saying they support it.

“Michiganders want to be able to make their own decisions regarding their healthcare and they do not want politicians or judges standing in their way,” Sommer Foster, executive director of Michigan Voices, said. “The volunteers from all over our state that helped circulate petitions are inspiring and they are going to help us win this campaign in November. The people who signed our petition realize that this is an all-hands-on-deck moment and will do what it takes to protect reproductive freedom in Michigan."

Abortion could soon become illegal in Michigan. In May, the state’s 1931 abortion ban was temporarily halted by a Michigan Court of Claims judge who is presiding over a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood that argues the state’s constitution protects abortion rights. In a separate case, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is urging the Michigan Supreme Court to weigh in on the issue.

“Today, we are taking a major step forward to restore the freedoms and protections of Roe v. Wade, and place the right to make a private decision about pregnancy, and about when to bring new life into the world, back into the hands of pregnant people, not politicians,” said Renee Chelian, executive director of Northland Family Planning.

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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