In one of the first referendums on abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, Michigan voters elected to codify abortion rights in their state constitution.
The vote concludes a heated campaign between proponents seeking to safeguard abortion access and opponents claiming it could allow minors to obtain abortions or undergo gender transition procedures without parental consent.
Proposal 3’s success is another blow to abortion opponents after Kansas voters rejected a ballot measure that would have stripped abortion rights protections from the state constitution, signaling voters’ desire to keep some safeguards in place.
The amendment will add new language to the state constitution enshrining a person’s right to make decisions “about all matters relating to pregnancy, including but not limited to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care.”
The passage of the amendment means a dormant 1931 state law that would make performing an abortion a felony in most cases will likely be overridden.
Campaigns for and against the amendment spent millions on TV ads to persuade Michigan voters in the months leading up to the election, each warning that the consequences would be dire if their side lost.
Opponents of the amendment argue it will extend reproductive rights far beyond the Roe framework, claiming in ads leading up to the election that it will open the door to allowing minors to get abortions or even undergo gender transition procedures without parental consent, which some legal experts and Democratic officials have disputed.
Michigan was one of five states with an abortion measure before voters. A signature drive to get the amendment on the ballot faced a speed bump after the state’s four-member Board of Canvassers failed to advance their petition in a deadlocked 2-2 vote in August. The decision was appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court, which ruled it should be added to the ballot in a 5-2 vote in September.