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Thursday, August 11, 2022

A voting initiative in Michigan could let voters choose whether abortion is a protected right

At summer festivals, farmers markets, parks and rallies, clipboard volunteers across Michigan are making a final effort to collect signatures on November’s ballot for Keeping Reproductive Freedom.

The proposed constitutional amendment, the “Michigan Right to Reproductive Freedom Initiative,” would protect “the right to make and influence decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care” , including but not limited to, abortion management, and infertility care.”

See more: Michigan Sen. Mallory McMorrow explains why she stood up to the onslaught of the Culture War?

A coalition called Michigan Reproductive Freedom for All, led by Michigan’s American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Michigan Voice, and Michigan’s Planned Parenthood advocates — Roe v. The petition had been collecting signatures for months, even before the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Wade. But last week’s decision has gained new momentum.

“The Supreme Court will not determine our future—Michigan voters will,” Ashley Phenesi, director of communications at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, told NewsHour.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan Volunteer for Reproductive Freedom gathered signatures for all ballots to amend the Michigan state constitution and permanently protect reproductive freedom in the state. Photo courtesy of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

At least 425,059 signatures are required by July 11 to be received on the November 2022 ballot. If some of the signatures are challenged or rejected, the organizers are trying to collect many more signatures.

Michigan is one of several places across the country that seek to protect abortion rights as the question of legality returns in the states. But it is one of nearly two dozen states with a law that criminalizes termination of pregnancy. A 1931 law makes abortion a crime and the sale of drugs for abortion a crime. It has not been used since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

In mid-May, the Michigan Court of Claims granted a temporary injunction to temporarily block enforcement. But that injunction is not permanent, and the law still created confusion in the wake of the High Court ruling, along with fears that it could be enforced in the future if not addressed. Republicans in the state legislature have already introduced legislation to amend the sentence, part of a push to explore “other avenues to protect the sanctity of human life,” State Representative Steve Cara said in a statement. Told.

“The time for cheap talking is over and the time for action has come,” he said.

Read more: Missouri reconsiders 8-week abortion ban as laws are challenged nationwide

According to the latest PBS NewsHour, NPR and Marist polls, 56 percent of American adults opposed the Supreme Court’s decision and 40 percent supported the decision, with 4 percent unsure. Fifty percent of American adults support abortion rights, while 36 percent said they did not. Sixty-six percent personally know someone who had a miscarriage.

In Michigan, a statewide poll of 600 registered voters conducted for the Detroit Regional Chamber in May 2022, a week after a leaked draft of the Supreme Court opinion, nearly 55 percent of voters voted in Roe v. Wade in place, while about a quarter favored overturning.

“We know that the majority of Michigan people want abortion to remain legal,” Phenici said. “This ballot measure will give them a voice. The Supreme Court won’t determine our future — Michigan voters will,” Phenici said.

What does the 1931 law say

Michigan’s 1931 law makes abortion a felony for pregnant people and doctors or others administering drugs or surgery in the process, and a misdemeanor charge for those selling a drug used for abortion. Is. The law in writing makes no exceptions for rape or incest. There is an exception that abortion can be performed to save the life of the pregnant person, but if the pregnant person dies in the process, the doctor is charged with murder.

In anticipation of the high court’s decision, Planned Parenthood of Michigan filed a lawsuit in April to protect access to abortion — a month before a leaked draft of the Supreme Court decision foreshadowed the end of the row — arguing that That the 1931 law was unconstitutionally vague and it violated it. Rights to liberty, bodily integrity, equal protection and privacy under the Michigan Constitution and state civil rights laws.

Read more: Uncertainty over abortion clinics in Louisiana

A state court’s injunction on the law provides temporary relief, but the action is not permanent. Anti-abortion group Michigan’s Right to Life has filed an amicus curiae in the case. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has said she will not enforce the 1931 law, however, she pointed out that there are 83 local county prosecutors who still can if the injunction is lifted.

what the democrats say

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also filed a lawsuit in May, saying the law violated due process and equal protection clauses of the Michigan Constitution. The governor wants an affirmative declaration that the Michigan Constitution protects the right to abortion. Following last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Whitmer filed a motion and a notice asking the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately consider her lawsuit in recognition of her constitutional right to abortion. Right to Life Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference have filed a motion to intervene in the matter.

Although several Michigan lawmakers and the attorney general confirmed that abortion is still legal in the wake of Dobbs’ decision because of the preliminary injunction, there was some confusion. Hours after Roe overturned on Friday, Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health, the state’s largest health system, said she would no longer perform abortions except to save the mother’s life, then reversed course the next day. On Monday, Michigan’s licensing and regulatory agency, LARA, clarified that it will not take action against any health professional providing legal abortion while the current injunction is in place.

Read more: Missouri’s last abortion clinic finds itself at the center of Row fallout

Whitmer has directed all state departments and agencies not to cooperate with officials in other states who want to prosecute pregnant people seeking legal abortion care, and to increase protections for reproductive health care.

“Abortion is still legal in Michigan and our doors are open. Our health centers — with support doctors, nurses and specialist staff — continue to provide care and resources that patients have relied on,” Feeney said.

Whitmer has pledged to “fight like hell to defend every Michiganender’s right to make decisions about his or her own body with the advice of a medical professional. I am proud of our children, your children, and our great state.” I will not give up for the future.

Republican reaction

Michigan Republicans, who currently control both chambers of the Michigan Legislature, have introduced House Bill 6270, the Protection on Conception Act, which amends a 1931 law banning abortion. Steve Cara just days before the U.S. Supreme Court delivered its ruling, the bill specifies that a pregnant person who sees an abortion will not be charged with a crime, punishing doctors with up to 10 years in prison and up to $100,000. Fine will be imposed. People who make or provide drugs to cause an abortion shall be imprisoned for 20 years, and although abortion is permitted to save the life of the pregnant person, that determination may include mental health problems or threats of self-harm or suicide. Not there.

Representative Steve Cara, who introduced the bill, said in a statement that House Bill 6270 would “update the 1931 law to make it enforceable Post-Roe v. Wade,” adding that “it is similar to what was passed in the state of Oklahoma.” takes inspiration from the law of

where voters stand

In a Glengarriff Group, Inc. poll commissioned by the Detroit Regional Chamber in May, about 59 percent of voters supported the proposed constitutional amendment while about 28 percent did not. Another 12 percent were undecided. When asked whether the reversal of Roe v. Wade would affect voters’ motivation to vote, about 38 percent of voters said they were more motivated to vote – closer to 30 percent “very much” motivated – and 2 Less than a percent said they were less motivated to vote. About 58 percent said it would not affect their decision to vote.

what will happen next

Whitmer and Nessel are both set to be re-elected in November.

Looking ahead to major races this fall, NARAL is joining Pro-Choice America, a non-profit reproductive freedom advocacy organization, along with partners Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Emily’s List to support candidates advocating for abortion rights. Investing $150 million in “This election day, we will send a message to the anti-election lawmakers responsible for this crisis: When you come for our rights, we come for your seats,” said Mini Timmaraju, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. .

See more: Louisiana judge blocks state’s trigger law banning abortion

Rising Voices, a Michigan non-profit organization that seeks to organize and develop the leadership of Asian American women and young people, is also part of a coalition of organizations supporting the Reproductive Freedom for All Ballot Initiative effort. They seek to protect vulnerable Asian Americans and other communities of color, who face particular challenges such as limited access to reproductive health due to language barriers, finances, cultural restrictions, lack of sex education, and fear of punishment and deportation. .

“People think that work is just about votes or elections and they’re like, ‘Oh, we’re not political people,'” said Rising Voice’s interim executive director Jungsoo Ah. “But it’s not whether you’re political or not. It’s true that we are in a time where there’s a lot of potential for harm to our communities. So if we don’t take action, all that damage will act on us.” A lot of people are talking about these elections as harm prevention elections, especially in Michigan.”

“When we’re talking about organizing our communities, we mean trying to attract love within and within our families so that we can really know that we’re doing these things. Know that we can be the change we want to be able to see,” Ah said.

World Nation News Desk
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