Home Event The Implications Michigan’s Upcoming Election Will Have on Women 

The Implications Michigan’s Upcoming Election Will Have on Women 

SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 27: A 'Vote' sign is posted less than two weeks before midterms Election Day on October 27, 2022 in Santa Ana, California.(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

By Caitlin Phelan

The upcoming November election in Michigan has many consequential races and proposals on the ballot. Between two polar opposite gubernatorial candidates, multiple house seats up for grabs, and arguably one of the most controversial proposals on the ballot dealing with abortion rights. 

On Nov. 8, voters will have the power to decide the future of legal access to abortion in Michigan when they consider Proposal 3 on the general election ballot. Proposal 3, also known as The Reproductive Freedom For All proposal, would guarantee that “every individual” in the state has a “fundamental right to reproductive freedom.” In Proposal 3, the term reproductive freedom is defined as “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.”

If Proposal 3 passes, it would create a new right in the Michigan Constitution. This would invalidate the 1931 abortion ban that is currently in the constitution. If Proposal 3 does not pass, abortion access would end up in the hands of elected officials in Lansing or the court system. So far, judges have ruled to suspend enforcement of Michigan’s 91-year-old abortion ban, noting that abortion opponents are appealing to higher courts.

Proposal 3 stipulates that it would still allow elected officials to regulate abortion after a fetus reaches “viability,” which is generally considered around 23 to 24 weeks. However, Michigan could not prohibit any abortions that a medical professional deems necessary to “protect the life or physical or mental health” of the mother. It will also prohibit the state from prosecuting an individual based on “actual, potential, perceived or alleged pregnancy outcomes,” including abortion, miscarriages and stillbirths. 

Michigan’s current governor, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, has previously stated that she’ll “fight like hell” to keep abortion legal in Michigan, and has argued that “Michigan women need access to abortion.” Her legal team asked an Oakland County judge to issue a preliminary injunction against county prosecutors who wanted to enforce the 1931 law banning abortion after Roe v. Wade was struck down in June by The Supreme Court. At a recent campaign rally, Whitmer said, “The only reason Michigan continues to be a pro-choice state is because of my veto and my lawsuit.”.

Whitmer’s opponent, Republican candidate Tudor Dixon said she opposes Proposal 3.  Initially, Dixon said there should be “no exceptions” to abortion restrictions and then revised her stance to include an exception, if the mothers life is in danger. Dixon has also previously stated that rape and incest should not be a valid exception to abortion restrictions. 

In Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District race, Republican canidate John Gibbs, has stated that he opposes Proposal 3 and that he is “100% pro-life in all cases.” Gibbs has also been in the headlines for controversial comments he made in the early 2000s when he was a student at  Stanford University. Gibbs created a self-described “think tank” called the Society for the Critique of Feminism. He said many women did not “possess the characteristics necessary to govern,” and said men were smarter than women because they are more likely to “think logically about broad and abstract ideas in order to deduce a suitable conclusion, without relying upon emotional reasoning.” He has also said he is against giving women the right to vote, arguing that America has “suffered” since the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920. Anne Marie Schieber, a spokesperson for Gibbs’ campaign released a statement that Gibbs believes women should be allowed to vote and work.

Gibbs’ opponent, Democratic candidate Hillary Scholten, supports the passing of Proposal 3, and has said one of her top priorities is preserving reproductive rights in the aftermath of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

The Democratic incumbent attorney general, Dana Nessel, has said that her office would not enforce the 1931 ban on abortions even if it took effect, while her Republican opponet, Matthew DePerno has said he supports and would enforce the 1931 abortion ban. DePerno has said he would also ban emergency contraceptives, comparing it to opiods.

The ACLU of Michigan and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan back Proposal 3, while Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference both oppose the passing of Proposal 3.

Women’s rights have recently been a main topic of debate among politicians across party lines and Michigan voters.This week, voters will be faced with many important decisions to make in Tuesday’s midterm election, many of which have significant implications on the lives of Michigan women. The outcome in this important election will show us where Michigan voters stand on women’s issues and abortion rights.

If you want to check your voter registration go to https://www.vote.org/am-i-registered-to-vote/ or if you still need to register to vote https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote.

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