16 News Now examines: Michigan’s Proposal 3

(WNDU) – Michigan’s Proposal 3, if passed, would make abortion a constitutional right in the state. The suggested language is as follows:

“A proposal to amend the state constitution to create a new individual right to reproductive freedom, including the right to make all decisions about pregnancy and abortion; allow the state to regulate abortion in some cases; and prohibit the prosecution of those exercising established rights.

This proposed constitutional amendment would:

  • Introduction of a new individual right to reproductive freedom, including the right to make and carry out all decisions about pregnancy, such as
  • Allow the state to regulate, but not prohibit, abortion based on the viability of the fetus when medically necessary to protect a patient’s life or physical or mental health;
  • prohibit state discrimination in enforcing this right; to prohibit the prosecution of any person, or any person who assists a pregnant person, for exercising the rights set forth by this amendment;
  • Repeal state laws that contradict this change.”

Supporters of the proposal say Michigan women have the freedom to vote.

“This is the most enduring way to ensure we enjoy the rights we enjoyed under Roe v. Wade,” said Merissa Kovach, Michigan ACLU legislative director.

But those opposed to the voting measure say it is unsafe.

“It allows abortion by birth as a constitutional right in our state and removes health and safety regulations for abortion clinics, making abortions more dangerous for women,” said Christen Pollo, spokeswoman for Citizens to Support MI Women and Children.

For those affected, however, the proposal makes it clear that further regulations can be implemented by allowing the state to “regulate abortions according to the viability of the fetus”.

Karley Abramson is a research associate specializing in health policy at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonprofit public affairs research organization. She says viability is defined differently than previous abortion frameworks.

“Viability isn’t fixed at a specific number of weeks,” she explains. “It will depend on certain facts of the pregnancy. And it will depend on the doctor’s assessment.”

Doctors who advocate for access to abortion say this proposal allows for personal choice in healthcare. dr Ajleeta Sangtani, MD, FACOG is an ob-gyn and ob-gyn in Ann Arbor. She says if Proposal 3 is not adopted, it could mean more risks for those who are vulnerable to negative health outcomes or for those who cannot access reproductive services.

“Patients with resources can receive the care they think is right, and patients without resources cannot receive the care that is right for them,” says Dr. Sangtani. “So I think we’re going to see an increase in maternal mortality, and that increase will exacerbate the differences in maternal mortality that already exist.”

From 2011 to 2018, 102 women died from pregnancy-related causes in Michigan. That’s just over 11 deaths for every 100,000 live births. 62.3% of these deaths were classified as preventable by the Michigan Maternal Mortality Review Committee.

differences exist. From 2014 to 2018, black women in Michigan were 2.8 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes.

“So if there is no constitutional right to abortion, that’s another thing to think about, how this inequality might also manifest itself,” agrees political researcher Karley Abramson.

Proposal 3 opponents focus many of their concerns on the end of the voting measure.

“It’s confusing in that the last line says repeal any state law that conflicts with it. Proponents of Proposal 3 never came up with a list of possible laws,” explains Christen Pollo.

Legal research has found that Michigan’s existing abortion regulations would not go away immediately.

“When it comes to breaking the law, nothing happens automatically,” explains Karley Abramson. “So if the proposal were passed it would make the right to abortion and other reproductive care more secure, but how it would actually manifest itself and what would be the meaning of all the language in the amendment is still up in the air or it’s up to the courts.” to decide whether to challenge it in the future.”

Opponents say the proposal’s language is vague, but that could be because it’s a constitutional amendment, not something passed by the Michigan Legislature.

“It’s not uncommon for such broad goals to be included in the constitution and later refined,” says Abramson, the health policy minister. “The constitutional amendment would be more of a first step in developing the legal framework for access to abortion, not the final step.”

So what happens if proposal 3 is not accepted? It is possible that a law before Roe v. Wade comes into effect.

“Right now Michigan has a law, people hear it’s a 1931 law, but it was originally passed in 1846 that restricts abortion,” explains Abramson.

“The only permission to have an abortion is to protect the life of the mother,” adds Dr. Added Sangtani.

“So the severity of the person’s medical condition must be quite high to justify the procedure. There is no exception for rape or incest involving abortion, current law,” says Abramson.

“The mortality rate for abortion is lower than the mortality rate for carrying a pregnancy to term. So the question is how much of your life must be risked to qualify for the procedure,” says Dr. Sangtani.

“I, like all doctors, have taken an oath to protect our patients and the health of our patients. Not being able to offer abortion as an option to my patients deprives me of the ability to do so and act for the benefit of my patients.”

But even if Proposal 3 is rejected by voters, that’s not the end of the story. The courts could still rule in favor of access to abortion.

“The Michigan Court of Claims has already sided with the plaintiff with Planned Parenthood, essentially saying that the established Michigan right to physical integrity already includes the right to an abortion,” Abramson said. “If the Michigan Supreme Court agrees with the Court of Claims, even if Prop 3 fails, they could still find a narrower right to abortion in the Michigan Constitution.”

But first, voters will have an opportunity to make their voices heard on the issue.

You can read all of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan research here: https://crcmich.org/publications/statewide-ballot-proposal-22-3-reproductive-freedom-for-all

And read the full details of Michigan House Proposal 3 here: https://www.house.mi.gov/hfa/PDF/Alpha/Ballot_Proposal_3_of_2022.pdf

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