Abortion rights win in Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan – People across Michigan are celebrating a victory with the passing of Proposal 3 which restores abortion rights in Michigan. Proposal 3 passed with 56.7% voting yes and 43.3% voting no.
The campaign to vote Yes on Proposal 3 also boosted voter turnout for the Democratic Party on November 8. On November 9 it was announced that the Democratic Party won both the Michigan House and Senate, as well as re-elected Democrats to all the top spots, led by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The last time Democrats held power like this was 1984.
It was ultimately grassroots organizing and door-knocking that provided a road to victory on reproductive healthcare during this voting cycle. Across the state more than a dozen members and friends of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization canvassed for abortion rights. They educated and talked to working people using the Reproductive Freedom for All literature, a partnership of the ACLU of Michigan, Michigan Voices, and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.
In Grand Rapids, doorknockers blanketed all three wards over six Saturdays, speaking with hundreds of registered voters. As volunteers they answered questions about reproductive rights and the ridiculous right-wing attack ads. Many people they spoke with said they were voting for Proposal 3 and the Democratic Party, but also expressed disappointment, and sometimes anger with the national Democrats.
“As a FRSO member it is important to help with causes that are good for workers and connect us face to face, to hear and discuss their needs and concerns,” explained Mike DeRuiter, who canvassed for Proposal 3.
Proposal 3 was on the ballot in Michigan’s November 8 midterm elections because of the most successful petition drive ever performed in the state. More than 730,000 voters signed forms to put the question of legalized abortion on the ballot. Voters were eager to keep the reproductive rights fought for in the past.
This came after the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June. This new ruling declared that the constitutional right to abortion was no longer in the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. It caused a chain reaction of loss of reproductive rights across the nation. According to the New York Times, “Most abortions are banned within at least 13 states.”
Right-wing opposition groups, especially the Catholic Church, also organized against Proposal 3, using deceitful tactics and unclear wording to undermine and confuse voters going into the midterms. Ad campaigns produced by these opposition groups present Proposal 3 as an extremist affront.
“The reactionaries don’t make sense. Everyone I talked to while canvassing thought that Proposal 3 was neither confusing, nor extreme, when we actually talked to them about it,” said Cherie Stoll who canvassed with FRSO.
Proposal 3 is simply an amendment to the Michigan Constitution. It promises to grant citizens of Michigan the same level of availability to abortion services they had with the 1970 Roe v. Wade decision. However, it does not ensure access to reproductive healthcare for poor women and LGBTQ people. It avoids funding for Black, Latino, American Indian and immigrants whose access to expensive medical procedures may be limited. Given the backwards abortion laws in neighboring Indiana, it means Michigan will see people coming over the border.
With seemingly settled issues such as abortion rights being attacked by the Republicans, it means there is still a long way to go in the fight for reproductive freedom.