Michigan enshrines right to abortion in state constitution with passing of Proposal 3, likely nullifying controversial 1931 ban

On Tuesday, the Michigan ballot measure to enshrine the right to obtain an abortion into the state constitution passed with 56.7% of voters voting in support of the measure and 43.3% of voters voting against it.

 

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According to data cited by the Michigan League for Public Policy, a supporting organization of Proposal 3, nearly 1 in 6 pregnancies in the state ends in an abortion, and the vast majority of abortions are not covered by insurance. 

Proposal 3 is sponsored by the Reproductive Freedom for All coalition made up of the ACLU of Michigan, Michigan Voices, and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan. 

The measure will establish a state constitutional right to reproductive freedom regarding prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion, miscarriage management, and infertility. 

Under the measure, abortions can be regulated after the point of fetal viability, but not if abortion care is medically necessary to protect a patient’s physical or mental health. Individuals that help a person exercise these rights will also be protected from prosecution, and the measure invalidates any other conflicting state laws.

Nicole Wells Stallworth, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, made a statement upon the proposal’s victory.

“Michigan has made history as the first state in the nation to pass an affirmative citizen-initiated constitutional amendment to guarantee the right to an abortion,” Stallworth said. “But we will not be the last. This victory will provide a blueprint to other states looking to use the power of direct democracy to restore reproductive rights previously protected under Roe.

And we’re not slowing down here in Michigan. We look forward to working with state leaders like Governor Gretchen Whitmer to ensure that reproductive freedom is not a right in name only. Throughout her career, Governor Whitmer has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to protecting Michigan citizens’ rights to essential, affordable, and accessible health care. We look forward to her ongoing leadership and fierce advocacy in the years to come.”

The passing of Proposal 3 also marks the likely repealing of the 1931 law that would have banned abortions in the state even in the case of rape or incest. Planned Parenthood of Michigan and Whitmer filed lawsuits before the overturning of Roe v. Wade to block this law. While a judge granted a preliminary injunction in August that temporarily blocked the 1931 ban from going into effect, experts say the ban is likely to be repealed once Proposal 3 takes effect in late December.