Michigan voters will see the pro-abortion Proposal 3 on their ballots in November. Proponents of the proposal have been working hard to frame this measure as simply a reinstatement of abortion policy as it was in Michigan before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade. This is not the case. If enacted, this poorly worded and confusing proposal would effectively codify into the Michigan Constitution one of the most extreme and open-ended abortion policies in the world.
The wording of the proposal that will appear on the ballot does not accurately detail all the changes that will occur to established law in Michigan. Furthermore, the actual language of the proposed amendment that will go into the Michigan Constitution is dangerously vague and in some ways self-contradictory. This proposal ought to be regarded as an insult to well-reasoned deliberation, true fundamental rights, and proper democratic processes. It is a dishonest use of the amendment process and exploitation of a highly emotional topic. It ought to be rejected outright, even by supporters of regulated abortion as it existed before the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The new policy would have negative implications far beyond the current law that many of these potential supporters will not even know about because of the selective marketing and short timeframe before the vote.
The language on the ballot will be as follows:
A proposal to amend the state constitution to establish new individual right to reproductive freedom, including right to make all decisions about pregnancy and abortion; allow state to regulate abortion in some cases; and forbid prosecution of individuals exercising established right
This proposed constitutional amendment would:
Establish new individual right to reproductive freedom, including right to make and carry out all decisions about pregnancy, such as prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion, miscarriage management, and infertility;
Allow state to regulate abortion after fetal viability, but not prohibit if medically needed to protect a patient’s life or physical or mental health;
Forbid state discrimination in enforcement of this right; prohibit prosecution of an individual, or a person helping a pregnant individual, for exercising rights established by this amendment; and invalidate state laws conflicting with this amendment.
Should this proposal be adopted?
[ ] YES
[ ] NO
The language of the actual Amendment is as follows:
STATE CONSTITUTION (EXCERPT)
CONSTITUTION OF MICHIGAN OF 1963*
DECLARATION OF RIGHTS
§ 28 Reproductive freedom.
(1) Every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which entails the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including but not limited to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care.
An individual’s right to reproductive freedom shall not be denied, burdened, nor infringed upon unless justified by a compelling state interest achieved by the least restrictive means.
Notwithstanding the above, the state may regulate the provision of abortion care after fetal viability, provided that in no circumstance shall the state prohibit an abortion that, in the professional judgment of an attending health care professional, is medically indicated to protect the life or physical or mental health of the pregnant individual. (2) The state shall not discriminate in the protection or enforcement of this fundamental right.
(3) The state shall not penalize, prosecute, or otherwise take adverse action against an individual based on their actual, potential, perceived, or alleged pregnancy outcomes, including but not limited to miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion. Nor shall the state penalize, prosecute, or otherwise take adverse action against someone for aiding or assisting a pregnant individual in exercising their right to reproductive freedom with their voluntary consent.
(4) For the purposes of this section:
A state interest is “compelling” only if it is for the limited purpose of protecting the health of an individual seeking care, consistent with accepted clinical standards of practice and evidence-based medicine, and does not infringe on that individual’s autonomous decision-making.
“Fetal viability” means: the point in pregnancy when, in the professional judgment of an attending health care professional and based on the particular facts of the case, there is a significant likelihood of the fetus’s sustained survival outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures.
(5) This section shall be self-executing. Any provision of this section held invalid shall be severable from the remaining portions of this section.
“Reproductive freedom” sounds great, doesn’t it? Who could be against that? The first bit of equivocation comes when they completely bypass the entire moral debate about abortion and the fundamental rights of the preborn human being by including abortion as part of “reproductive freedom.” Such a misnomer should not even be recognized in Michigan law, let alone placed in the Michigan Constitution.
Regulatory Authority In Name Only
The next bit of dishonesty pertains to the ballot wording, “allow state to regulate abortion in some cases” and “allow state to regulate abortion after fetal viability, but not prohibit if medically needed to protect a patient’s life or physical or mental health.” This wording is meant to sound like it allows for regulation or prohibitions on abortion and protection of the preborn human being later on in the pregnancy. This will not likely occur as many will be lead to believe.
The only hint in this ballot language that may tip a knowledgeable person off that it contains massive loopholes is that it indicates the state may not prohibit abortion “if medically needed to protect a patient’s … mental health.” Before Roe and Casey were overturned, the “mental health” loophole was an often exploited means to allow for abortions where the state prohibited them, with what constitutes “mental health” often being loosely defined to simply include stress or anxiety among other non-life threatening or debilitating conditions. If we look at the language that will actually go into the Michigan Constitution, it codifies this loophole and then some. The decision is left up to “the professional judgment of an attending health care professional.” This does not even need to be a doctor under this definition and under this proposal.
When a state can intervene is also defined in a manner biased towards only the mother, “for the limited purpose of protecting the health of an individual seeking care, consistent with accepted clinical standards of practice and evidence-based medicine, and does not infringe on that individual’s autonomous decision-making.” This destroys long-standing argument that a state has a compelling interest in protecting the life of the preborn human being at some point along in the pregnancy. Before, the debate was over at what point this is, now it matters not.
This proposal even weakens the “fetal viability” protection argument further by defining it in a manner that allows for subjective judgment against the interests and rights of the preborn, “the point in pregnancy when, in the professional judgment of an attending health care professional and based on the particular facts of the case, there is a significant likelihood of the fetus’s sustained survival outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures.” So much for the medical duty to “first, do no harm” and the duty to attempt to save life when it can be saved. All this will effectively allow for the legalization of late term abortions and even possibly infanticide and partial birth abortions in Michigan – an act the people have expressly prohibited before the overturning of Roe and Casey.
Destruction of Parental Rights and Harm to Minors
Another outrageous aspect of this proposal that many Michiganders may be shocked to learn is that it makes no distinction between adult and minor in terms of the “reproductive freedom” rights that it defines and assigns to all “individuals.” In the language it states, “every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom.” The proposal goes on to define seeking contraception or sterilization as being among “reproductive rights.” Clearly, this is about more than simply returning to how abortion was regulated “before Roe and Casey were overturned.” Parents may have a problem with this, as it directly infringes upon their duty to effectively raise their minor children as they see fit and look out for their best interests. In the unfortunate event of an unwanted pregnancy of a minor, laws pertaining to parental consent or even requiring the informing of parents of the pregnancy may be prohibited.
Tricking the People to Overrule the Will of The People/Taxpayer Funding for Abortion
As for invalidating other laws and regulations voted upon and approved by the people before Roe was overturned, we cannot be sure just how many may be at risk, and this in itself is part of the problem with this poorly worded and confusing proposal. The ballot language states the amendment will, “invalidate state laws conflicting with this amendment” but the actual language of the amendment does not list any laws that would be invalidated. Given the vague wording of the amendment and the loose, biased definitions, we can assume most existing reasonable laws and regulations pertaining to abortion in the state would be at risk, even some of those pertaining to safety and quality of patient care. Prohibitions on state funding of abortions would also likely evaporate, as the amendment says the state cannot discriminate in the protection or enforcement of reproductive rights. If these “reproductive rights,” including abortions, are part of legal and valid medical procedures under this amendment to the Michigan Constitution, then there is little basis for taxpayer funds not applying to them as they do for other medical procedures deemed legal and valid.
Call to Action
Whether you are 100% pro-life or believe abortion ought to be permitted with restrictions and limitations, the conclusion is that Proposal 3 is too extreme and irresponsible for Michigan. Below are some links to groups and organizations fighting to oppose this proposal and spread the word to the people. Please check them out and support them any way you can.
Vote “NO” on Proposal 3 in November!