Michigan Supreme Court Puts Abortion Amendment on Ballot

Elections board had deadlocked along party lines
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 8, 2022 5:20 PM CDT
Michigan Supreme Court Puts Abortion Amendment on Ballot
Part of the initiative petition amendment to Michigan's constitution on abortion rights.   (AP Photo)

Voters will decide whether to place abortion rights in the Michigan Constitution, the state Supreme Court declared Thursday, settling the issue a day before the fall ballot must be completed. Abortion rights would be guaranteed if the amendment passes on Nov. 8. A 1931 state law makes it a crime to perform most abortions, but the law was suspended in May, and a judge this week followed up by striking it down as unconstitutional. Although appeals of that decision are likely, the law would be trumped if voters approve the amendment in the fall election, the AP reports.

A state elections board on Aug. 31 deadlocked on whether the abortion initiative should appear on the ballot, with Republicans voting no and Democrats voting yes. The 2-2 vote meant the measure wasn't certified for the ballot. Supporters submitted more than 700,000 signatures, easily clearing the minimum threshold. But Republicans and abortion opponents argued the petitions had improper or no spacing between words and were confusing to voters. The organization Reproductive Freedom for All urged the Supreme Court to step in and order the Board of State Canvassers to add it to the ballot. Election officials say Friday is the deadline to finalize the full ballot.

“We will be willing to abide by their decision,” Tony Daunt, a Republican and board chairman, said last week, referring to the Supreme Court. There are political implications beyond the ballot question itself. Democrats say the US Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is mobilizing voters and will help Democratic candidates this fall, when top races including governor, secretary of state, and attorney general are on the Michigan ballot. They point to conservative Kansas, where voters overwhelmingly defeated a measure that would have allowed the Republican-controlled legislature to tighten restrictions or ban the procedure outright.

(More abortion debate stories.)

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