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Will Michigan's 'Proposition 3' End All Abortion Restrictions?

John Gizzi By Monday, 17 October 2022 08:39 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Following the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision, which essentially sent the issue of abortion back to the states, pundits and pols on both sides of the issue felt that abortion foes in Kansas went too far.

A proposed constitutional amendment to say there was no right to abortion drew nationwide press and funding. Planned Parenthood weighed in with six-figure financial support for the "no" forces, who emerged triumphantly with 59% of the vote.

Now it may be that pro-choice forces are "going too far" with Proposition 3 in Michigan.

Should the proposed amendment to the Wolverine State's constitution be enacted in November, opponents warn it would not only overturn the 1931 ban on abortion but— depending on subsequent interpretations in court — almost certainly invalidate all of the legal restrictions on abortion that exist in Michigan law.

Known officially as the "Reproductive Freedom For All" measure, Proposition 3 would ensure everyone "has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom" and permits the restriction of abortion only if it "is justified by a compelling state interest achieved by the least restrictive means."

Opponents say this opens the way to taxpayer funding of abortions and would strike down the parental consent law for minors that Democrats and Republican legislators agreed on and passed in 1991.

"Proposition 3 would permit abortions anytime, anyplace, and anywhere," former State Attorney General and 2018 Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Schuette told Newsmax. "It's extreme and goes way too far."

And yet, an EPIC-MRA poll commissioned by the Detroit Free Press found 64% of Michigan voters support the controversial proposal — the result of the very upbeat ballot label "Reproductive Rights For All," which opponents charge masks an agenda that will make abortion legal and available under any circumstances.

Even some pro-choice Republicans are put off by the measure.

"It is, as the opposing yard signs put it, 'misleading' and 'extreme,'" Ingham County Republican Chairman Thomas Klunzinger told Newsmax, adding that he was "pro-choice" before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion and that he admired Barry Goldwater "in part because he and [wife] Peggy helped found Planned Parenthood in Arizona."

Planned Parenthood, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, helped craft the wording of Proposition 3. Both are heavily involved in fundraising to secure its passage.

Supporters heatedly denied that enactment of "3" would open the door to abortion under any circumstances. Darci McConnell, communications director for the "Yes on 3 — Reproductive Freedom For All" Committee, told Newsmax "there is nothing in the proposition that speaks to the issues of state funding [of abortions] or parental notification, as opponents are saying."

McConnell emphasized that "3" would replace the 1931 anti-abortion law now on the books "and opponents are all too happy to restore the 1931 law."

John Bursch, former solicitor general of Michigan and vice president of the Alliance Defending Freedom, said that "words matter."

"And that's especially true when those words will become a permanent part of Michigan's Constitution," he said. "Start with the first nine words [of Proposition 3]: 'Every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom.' Because the word 'individual' is not defined, it could include minors as well as adults. The proposal goes on to define 'reproductive freedom' as 'anything but not limited to abortion care and sterilization.' Again, there is no definition of 'abortion care.'"

Although McConnell also told Newsmax that "we are supported by Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike," most of the major Democrat office-holders and candidates for major office have embraced Proposition 3 and most of their Republican counterparts are on the "no" side. Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, for example, has strongly endorsed "3," while Republican opponent Tudor Dixon is firmly opposed.

Norm Shinkle, former Ingham County GOP Chairman now running for a seat in the state House of Representatives, spoke for many in his party when he told Newsmax, "All the liberals are behind it, and much of the money behind it is from out of state. All 'bible' folks are against it. The Catholic Church even has four-by-eight signs on their churches. One would think it's a ballot prop from the devil himself!"

He added that "[p]olls don't have the details. If one thinks all this does is reverse Roe v. Wade, it passes. It does a lot more than that."

Whether Proposition 3 passes or fails next month will almost certainly depend on just how voters interpret it and what they think it will do.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Following the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision, which essentially sent the issue of abortion back to the states, pundits and pols on both sides of the issue felt that abortion foes in Kansas went too far.
proposition 3, michigan, supreme court, dobbs, abortion, planned parenthood
Monday, 17 October 2022 08:39 AM
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