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Tipsheet

Michigan Board Blocks Certification of Abortion Rights Ballot Measure

AP Photo/Anna Johnson

On Wednesday, The Michigan Board of State Canvassers blocked certification of an abortion rights amendment that would have beeen included on the ballot in November. The amendment would enshrine abortion rights in the state’s Constitution.

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The Board deadlocked 2-2 along partisan lines, blocking the measure. Both Democrats voted for the ballot measure while two Republicans voted against it. The pro-abortion organizations supporting the amendment will need to petition the state’s Supreme Court to include the measure on the November ballot. 

The measure would enshrine permanent protections for abortion, among other things, in the Constitution and strike down the state’s pre-Roe pro-life law (via Politico): 

If the measure is ultimately placed on the ballot and Michigan voters approve it, it would insert permanent protections into the state’s constitution not only for abortion but also for other reproductive health services, including miscarriage management, birth control, prenatal care and in-vitro fertilization. It also would stop the state’s 1931 abortion ban from going back into effect should state courts uphold it in two pending cases involving lawsuits by Planned Parenthood and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The ban, which has no exemptions for rape or incest, remains blocked by a lower county court’s preliminary injunction.

Townhall has covered how abortion laws in Michigan have been a hot-button issue since before the overturn of Roe v. Wade in June. In January, before the Supreme Court’s ruling, pro-abortion supporters in Michgan began garnering signatures from voters to change the state’s Constitution on abortion rights on the November ballot. The coalition included the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, and a nonprofit organization called Michigan Voices. 

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Last month, a Michigan judge blocked enforcement of the 1931 law hours after the state Appeals Court ruled that county prosecutors could enforce it. Previously, Michigan’s Democrat Attorney General Dana Nessel said on the record several times that she would not enforce any kind of “draconian” abortion laws in the state in the event of a Roe overturn.

In July, pro-abortion Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a $76 million budget bill for the state but vetoed funds and tax credits for pro-life pregnancy centers and adoption programming that would have equaled less than $20 million, less than 0.03 percent of the entire budget.

“I am using my veto pen to reject line items that harm women's health care. These line items would create a gag rule preventing reproductive health-service providers from even mentioning abortion and otherwise make it harder for women to get the health care they need. Any efforts to undermine a woman's ability to make her own medical decisions with her trusted health-care provider will earn my disapproval. Women and doctors should be making health care decisions — not politicians,” Whitmer’s line-item veto read.

One of the items Whitmer vetoed in her budget signing included $1 million for community colleges to create facilities to provide services for pregnant and parenting students. This would have included housing, child care, flexible academic scheduling, and education about responsible parenting.

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“We have the largest budget in history, and we want to throw a bone to adoptive parents, and she's vetoing that?” Genevieve Marnon, the legislative director for Michigan Right to Life, told Bridge Michigan after Whitmer vetoed the pro-life funding. “Wow, she's for women alright.”

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