Contact: Eric Lupher
Date: September 20, 2022
Livonia, MI – The Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a 106-year-old, not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving government in Michigan, has analyzed Proposal 3, a constitutional amendment on the November 8 ballot that would establish a right to reproductive services, including abortion.
What We Found:
- If Proposal 3 is adopted, the fundamental right to reproductive health care for matters related to pregnancy, including access to abortion prior to the stage of viability, would be guaranteed to all individuals by the Michigan Constitution. Once established, this right would be protected from most legislative efforts to modify it.
- If Proposal 3 is rejected, regulatory decisions regarding reproductive health, including abortion, will revert to the state courts and legislature. Michigan courts are currently addressing whether Michigan’s statute prohibiting abortion violates the state constitution.
- Major issues to consider: Proposal 3 would preserve and expand the previously established federal right to abortion. The amendment offers protections for a wide range of reproductive services beyond abortion, but the parameters of this protection are largely undefined. The vague and inclusive nature of the proposal opens the door to potential legal challenges. The existing Michigan statute on abortion, which is among the strictest in the country, is currently being challenged.
The status quo of reproductive rights in the country has been recently upended by a U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned the constitutional right to abortion. A state right to abortion, however, could be established by the Michigan Constitution, as states have the authority to protect certain fundamental rights and freedoms from government interference. Proposal 3 would amend the Michigan Constitution to explicitly protect an individual’s right to a variety of reproductive health services, including abortion care.
Regardless of the outcome of the November 8 vote on Proposal 3, the path forward is a giant leap into the unknown. The proposal, if adopted, has the potential to impact several existing Michigan laws and is likely to be challenged on many dimensions in the courts for years to come. If voters reject Proposal 3, it is possible that the existing abortion statute is revived, denying almost all abortions to Michigan residents. However, the Court of Claims recently found that the statute violates the Michigan Constitution. The Michigan Supreme Court has yet to weigh in, leaving the scope of any fundamental right to abortion undefined.
“For this type of issue that sparks such passionate debate, it is important for voters to filter out fact from rhetoric,” said Eric Lupher, President of the Citizens Research Council. “The regulatory framework we were accustomed to under Roe is no more, and Michigan voters essentially must decide if they want to amend the state constitution to provide an expansive right to reproductive care or leave it to state officials to develop a new regulatory framework.”
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan does not take positions on ballot issues. In analyzing the questions on the November ballot, the Citizens Research Council hopes to provide more information so that voters can make better informed decisions in formulating their votes.
Founded in 1916, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan works to improve government in Michigan. The organization provides factual, unbiased, independent information concerning significant issues of state and local government organization, policy, and finance. By delivery of this information to policymakers and citizens, the Research Council aims to ensure sound and rational public policy formation in Michigan. For more information, visit www.crcmich.org.