At a city council meeting Tuesday, Councilmember Linh Song, D-Ward 2, co-chair of the Reproductive Freedom for All ballot initiative, claimed that the initiative had reached almost 800,000 signatures — nearly double the required number to be put onto the ballot in November.
Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) were overruled by the Supreme Court in June, ending federal protection of abortion rights and returning the decision on whether or not to continue supporting access to abortions to the states. In Michigan, a preliminary injunction against a 1931 abortion ban currently protects abortion access throughout the state, but conservative activists sought to have the injunction overturned in May, and two prosecutors in Michigan have stated that they will enforce the ban regardless of the injunction.
The Reproductive Freedom for All ballot initiative seeks to have the Michigan Constitution amended to protect healthcare providers and the right to multiple forms of reproductive healthcare, including abortion. The initiative needed just over 425,000 signatures to earn itself a spot on the ballot this November.
Song stated that nearly 800,000 signatures have been collected for the ballot initiative, and thanked those who worked to gather those signatures.
“Many thanks to community members who went to great lengths to collect signatures at every public event, on their own block, having these discussions with neighbors and understanding that this is truly an issue about the health and safety of women,” Song said.
The ballot initiative needs to have its signatures verified by the Bureau of Elections and the Board of State Canvassers before it will officially be included on the ballot. If it does make it onto the ballot in November, it will require a majority vote amongst citizens to be incorporated into the Michigan Constitution.
Song said the Supreme Court decision will impact people on the local level, specifically people of Color.
“When these decisions come down on the federal level and impact us here, locally, on the local level, that means it’ll impact the people we know and love and care (about) and who we work with, too, who are in our own neighborhoods who are at risk,” Song said. “When we say that racism is a public health crisis, that also recognizes that women of Color, BIPOC women especially … (are) at higher risk when it comes to maternal health and access to necessary services.”
Song concluded her statement by thanking the people who will continue to work towards protecting abortion access in Michigan.
“Many thanks to folks who continue to press on,” Song said. “This will be ongoing.”
Summer Managing News Editor Riley Hodder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.