If voters support the Reproductive Freedom for All Amendment, it would enshrine permanent protections in the Michigan constitution not only for abortion, but also for other reproductive health services, including miscarriage treatment, birth control, prenatal care and in vitro fertilization. It would also stop the reinstatement of a 1931 abortion ban if state courts uphold it in two pending cases. The ban is still blocked by a lower court’s preliminary injunction.
While just over 425,000 signatures are needed from registered Michigan voters to get on the ballot, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and other groups behind the campaign have submitted more than 753,759 signatures and say they’ve collected them from all 83 counties in the state .
René Chelyan, the leader of the electoral initiative that runs a network of abortion clinics and spoke to POLITICO in June about her own previousroe deer illegal abortions, called Monday’s signing “an important step forward to restore freedoms and protections Roe v. Wade.”
This measure, she said, “will return the right to make private decisions about pregnancy and when to bring a new life into the world, back into the hands of pregnant people, not politicians.”
Progressive activists in Michigan had been planning the ballot initiative for years as they anticipated the collapse of federal protections. They officially began in early 2022 — after oral arguments at the Supreme Court convinced many to fall Roe v. Wade was inevitable. Although signature gathering got off to a slow start, interest has skyrocketed, with tens of thousands of people volunteering after POLITICO published the draft repeal roe deer in early May. When the ordinance passed in late June, they kicked it into an even higher gear—closing the state to gathering signatures at pride fairs, farmers markets, libraries, outdoor concerts, agricultural festivals and block parties.
“After the leak, we got 30,000 new volunteers,” Ayub said. “But in a week or so after the decision, it doubled to over 60,000. We’ve never seen anything like this before. And when the collection of signatures ends, they want to talk to the voters and get it passed.”
If the amendment is certified for a vote, abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion groups expect a tough and expensive fight. Both sides say they will be making bank calls, knocking on doors, posting ads, holding rallies and mobilizing community groups ahead of November — when the state’s Democratic governor and attorney general are also up for re-election.
“We will start our massive campaign after the signatures are certified, but for now we are doing everything we can. We don’t want to sit around and wait and waste time getting the word out,” said Anna-Marie Visser, director of communications for Michigan-based Right to Life. “We want to educate the public and let them know that even if you’re pro-choice, you shouldn’t put it in the state constitution.”