Abortion rights initiative certified for the Michigan ballot

On Sept. 8, 2022, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in a 5-2 decision that an initiative to create a state constitutional right to reproductive freedom, defined to include abortion, contraceptives, and other pregnancy-related matters,must be added to the November ballot. The initiative was officially certified by the Board of State Canvassers on Sept. 9 and will appear on the ballot as Proposal 3.

If approved by voters, Proposal 3 would create a constitutional right to reproductive freedom in November. The term reproductive freedom would be defined to include “prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care.” Proposal 3 would also provide that the state can regulate abortion after fetal viability, except that the state could not ban abortions to “protect the life or physical or mental health of the pregnant individual,” as determined by an attending health care professional.

On July 11, the campaign Reproductive Freedom for All submitted 753,759 signatures to qualify Proposal 3 for the ballot. The measure needed 425,059 valid signatures to qualify. A month later, on Aug. 26, the State of Michigan Bureau of Elections announced that 596,379 signatures were projected as valid.

The campaign opposing the initiative, Citizens to Support MI Women and Children, filed a challenge in August against the petition. In the challenge, the campaign argued that the lack of appropriate spacing between certain words within the initiative would “seek to insert non-existent words into the Michigan Constitution.” The Supreme Court rejected the challenge, saying that “regardless of the existence or extent of the spacing, all of the words remain and they remain in the same order, and it is not disputed that they are printed in 8-point type.”

Proposal 3 will join two other measures certified for the Michigan ballot in November. The measures certified for the Michigan ballot are:

  • Proposal 1, which would change the term limits requirement for state legislators and financial disclosure requirements for state executive and legislative officials
  • Proposal 2, which would make changes to voting policies, including dropboxes, photo ID or signed legal documents, early voting, and absentee voting
  • Proposal 3, which would create a state constitutional right to reproductive freedom, defined to include abortion, contraceptives, and other pregnancy-related matters.

In 2022, there are six total ballot measures addressing abortion—the most on record. Following Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, measures have been certified in California, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, and Vermont. In Aug., voters in Kansas rejected a constitutional amendment that would have stated that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion. The five other measures will be on the ballot this November, including in Michigan.

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