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Michigan Supreme Court says abortion, voting questions must go on ballot

Abortion rights supporters gather outside the Michigan Capitol in Lansing, Mich., during a rally on September 7, 2022.
Jeff Kowalsky
AFP Via Getty Images
Abortion rights supporters gather outside the Michigan Capitol in Lansing, Mich., during a rally on September 7, 2022.

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled that a proposed state constitutional amendment that would protect abortion rights should be placed on November's ballot.

It's up to the Michigan Board of State Canvassers Friday to decide in a final vote whether the measure should go before voters. Last week, the question was sent to the state Supreme Court after Republican canvassers argued the amendment's spacing and formatting would be confusing to voters. They deadlocked on the decision and the group behind the amendment, Reproductive Freedom for All, appealed the decision to the state's highest court.

Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack called the effort by board members to keep the abortion rights question off the ballot "a game of gotcha gone very bad."

"What a sad marker of the times."

Justices held that more than enough signatures were collected (about 750,000 signatures, far more than the 425,000 signatures required) and that other matters were not up to the board to decide.

"We are energized and motivated now more than ever to restore the protections that were lost under Roe," said Darci McConnell, the communication director for Reproductive Freedom for All, in a statement after the court's ruling.

"It falls to voters now to reject this mistake-ridden, extreme proposal on Election Day," said the spokesperson for MI Women and Children, Christen Pollo, in a statement. "We are confident that a majority will say No to Proposal 3."

It's been a contentious week for abortion Michigan — one of the only states in the region where abortion remains legal. Wednesday, a judge ordered to bar enforcement of a1931 law that criminalizes the procedure.

If the amendment moves ahead, Michigan will join other states such as California and Vermont where voters will see similar state constitutional abortion rights amendments on their ballots this November.

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Rick Pluta is the managing editor for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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