As states grapple with the future of abortion in the U.S., Michigan, California, and Vermont could become the first states to let voters decide whether the right to abortion should be written into the state constitution.
In Michigan, a proposed constitutional amendment would override a 90-year-old state law that makes abortion a felony even in cases of rape or incest. The U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade last month could revive that abortion ban — and has galvanized abortion-rights advocates to secure new protections.
Some of the momentum is coming from activists getting involved for the first time.
“I wanted to do something, but I had no political experience or really any experience in activism,” said Amanda Mazur, who lives in rural northwestern Michigan. “But I thought, ‘Maybe I can volunteer and just offer something tangible to the movement.’”
Michigan organizers like Mazur submitted more than 750,000 signatures — a record number, they said — to state election officials in hopes of having the amendment appear on the November ballot.
If just over half those signatures are validated, Michigan voters will decide whether to amend the state’s constitution to guarantee broad individual rights to “reproductive freedom” that would cover abortion, contraception, and fertility treatments. It would also prevent the state from regulating abortions later in pregnancy if the patient’s “physical or mental health” is at risk.
The ballot initiative has the backing of medical groups l …