On Election Day, voters in at least five states saw Proposition 3 – also known as Prop 3 – which protects abortion rights. What is Prop 3 and how does it amend Michigan’s constitution?. In Michigan, 55.8% of voters supported
The proposition amends Article I of the state’s constitution to add a section that states: “Every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which entails the right to make and effectuate 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 amendment states that while the state can regulate abortion, it cannot prohibit an abortion that a medical professional deems necessary to protect the physical and mental health of a pregnant person.
With the new amendment, the state can’t penalize or prosecute those who receive an abortion or someone who assists in an abortion.
An abortion can only be turned down if it is “justified by a compelling state interest achieved by the least restrictive means.” A state interest is deemed “compelling” if it is for the “purpose of protecting the health of an individual seeking care, consistent with accepted clinical standards of practice and evidence-based medicine, and does not infringe on that individual’s autonomous decision-making.”
The Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion at the federal level, voided a 1931 Michigan law that made performing an abortion a felony in most cases. But the law lay dormant for about 50 years, and when Roe was overturned earlier this year, the state had an opportunity to reinstate the 1931 law.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,, supports abortion rights. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel vowed not to enforce the 1931 law. Planned Parenthood of Michigan and an abortion provider in the state filed a lawsuit in April arguing the 1931 law is unconstitutional. And in September, a state court judge invalidated the 90-year-old ban, finding it violated the state constitution.
Still, the fate of abortion access in the state was left up to voters, and on Tuesday, about 2.1 million people voted yes to support the ballot measure, while nearly 1.7 million voted against it.
Prop 3 got on the ballot with the help of abortion rights activists. Ato Michigan’s midterm election ballots received more than 750,000 signatures, according to the ACLU. That is about double the amount needed for a proposed measure to qualify. Still, the state’s Board of Canvassers was deadlocked on allowing it to be added. Ultimately, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled it could be on the ballot.
Michigan’s current abortion law states the procedure is legal until “viability,” or when the fetus has developed enough that it could survive outside the womb, which is usually at 24 to 26 weeks of pregnancy. The new constitutional amendment upholds this rule.
Days before the election, Whitmer tweeted a study by nonpartisan policy institute Center for American Progress, which found maternal death rates would increase if states banned abortion. The group said maternal death rates would increase 25% if Michigan banned access to the procedure. “Access to reproductive care saves lives. I’ll keep fighting like hell,” Whitmer wrote.