Today, Reproductive Freedom for All (RFFA), in coalition with Michigan Voices, ACLU of Michigan, and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, has officially launched statewide signature collection to place a ballot initiative to protect reproductive freedom in Michigan, including abortion access, on the November 2022 ballot. The proposal would amend the state Constitution to explicitly affirm Michiganders’ fundamental right to make and carry out decisions without political interference in all matters related to pregnancy, including abortion, birth control, prenatal care, and childbirth.
“Michigan Voices and our partners are excited to begin the signature collection phase of the Reproductive Freedom for All campaign,” said Sommer Foster, Michigan Voices’ Executive Director. “Roe v. Wade is in danger of being overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, and we believe that it is imperative to enshrine in our constitution that the right to comprehensive reproductive care, including the right to an abortion, remains in the hands of patients and their doctors. When politicians impose medically unnecessary restrictions that impact safe access to care, the communities that our partners serve, including people of color, LGBTQ+ folks, and people with low incomes, are most impacted.”
Signature collection began Sunday with volunteer teams growing statewide. In order to place the constitutional amendment on the ballot, the coalition must collect 425,059 signatures, or 10 percent of the total votes cast in the 2018 gubernatorial election in Michigan. The deadline for signature collection is July 11.
Interested in helping to gather signatures? Register for PPAM's signature collection training happening Tuesday, March 19 at 6 p.m.
“The fight for reproductive freedom doesn’t only impact cis women,” said Jerron Totten of LGBT Detroit. “Though we know that’s who a majority of legislators have in mind as they perpetuate this kind of violence. The trans-masculine community is also at risk of harm with the possible overturn of Roe v. Wade. This community is already high risk for violence, sexual assault and discrimination. As a larger LGBT+ community, we must do what we can to protect everyone’s right to make the best decisions concerning their health care.”
The effort to amend the state constitution is underway in anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that could upend Roe v. Wade, the ruling that recognized a right to abortion under the federal Constitution. Michigan is one of 26 states poised to eliminate abortion access if the Court overturns Roe. The state legislature never repealed its outdated 1931 law banning abortion and this measure is needed to ensure it will not go back into effect. Nearly 2.2 million Michiganders could lose their fundamental right to abortion if Roe is overturned, according to recently released research from Planned Parenthood Federation of America and In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda.
“Empowered women empower women,” said Stephanie Williams of Mothers of Hope, a community-based organization leading in the reproductive justice space. “Mothers of Hope is committed to our ongoing efforts to fight like hell for reproductive freedom for all women, especially Black women who continue to have the greatest health disparities in outcomes related to health care and access. This ballot initiative is about quality of life, equity and greater access, especially for the most disenfranchised which is often Black women.”