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Ballot initiative aims to protect abortion rights in Michigan

Nate Pappas/WDET

Michigan’s 1931 law banning abortion is on hold due to a judge’s injunction preventing its enforcement. For now, abortions can continue in the state despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

The Republican-controlled legislature has denied votes on bills by Democrats that would codify the right to abortion care in Michigan. The Reproductive Freedom for All ballot initiative seeks to bypass the legislature and put the question of abortion rights before voters in November.

The group – made up of women’s health and civil rights advocates – needs to collect 425,000 valid signatures before July 11.

Executive Director at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, Nicole Wells Stallworth, says the decision is a gross injustice.

“This is about more than abortion. It’s about forcing pregnancy and parenthood in circumstances where people may be unwilling or unable and unprepared to grapple with the economic, the emotional, the physical ramifications that comes with it.”

Stallworth says signature gathering for the ballot initiative improved after a draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked back in May.

Sommer Foster is the co-executive director of the advocacy group Michigan Voices. She says the signature gathering is on schedule.

“We are collecting signatures as we speak. The number changes every day but I can tell you that we are on track to get this on the ballot and we will collect over and above 425,000 signatures knowing that there will be challenges.”