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Michigan's state-level fight for abortion rights is just beginning

A pro-life supporter argues with pro-choice advocates in Washington D.C.
Carol Guzy for NPR
A pro-life supporter argues with pro-choice advocates in Washington D.C.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade puts the question of abortion rights in the hands of individual states. But one of Michigan's largest anti-abortion groups predicts the biggest fight may come at the ballot box.

Pro-choice advocates, including Governor Gretchen Whitmer, had already filed lawsuits against Michigan's existing anti-abortion law.

And the legislature is considering competing proposals concerning abortion rights.

But the legislative director of the group Right to Life of Michigan, Genevieve Marnon, says the most significant challenge to limiting abortion in the state is a ballot initiative that would enshrine reproductive rights in the constitution.

"It would create a constitutional right for your minor child to go in and get sterilized without your knowledge or permission. And I don't think most people are okay with that. Taxpayer-funded abortions? We defeated that in '88. It would be back on — it would be a constitutional right," she says.

Activists attempting to get the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot must turn in more than 400,000 valid petition signatures by the middle of next month.

Quinn Klinefelter is a host and Senior News Editor for 101.9 WDET, anchoring midday newscasts and preparing reports for WDET, NPR and the BBC. Klinefelter joined WDET in 1998 after earning a M.A. from the nation’s top-ranked journalism school, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and working as a sports correspondent for BBC Radio 4 and as a talk show host, anchor and reporter for Wisconsin Public Radio.