LANSING, Mich. — A ballot initiative that aims to solidify reproductive rights, including the right to abortion, in the Michigan Constitution could have more than enough signatures to get on the ballot come November. In fact, the volunteers who helped gather signatures estimate they could have double the required number of signatures.
“We have absolutely exceeded the goal," said Gina Keller the co-founder of Distill Social, a grassroots organization in Michigan that helped gather signatures for the Reproductive Freedom for All petition.
The petition would amend the state constitution to include the right to an abortion, birth control and other reproductive care. It would also explicitly prohibit prosecuting doctors who perform abortions or women who get an abortion.
“People are still counting," she said. "They're going to be counting throughout the weekend. So I think you can expect an accurate number closer to next Monday.”
Next week on July 11, the ballot petitioners, which includes Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and the ACLU of Michigan among others, will submit their hundreds of thousands of signatures for review to the Michigan Secretary of State.
“With our partnerships with other local grassroots groups around the state, we collected about 55,000 signatures for Reproductive Freedom for All," Keller said. "We had over 600 volunteers join our network in over 40 counties in Michigan.”
The ballot initiative needs 425,059 valid signatures in order to get on the ballot in November.
Reports on Wednesday estimated that the petition drive has already collected upwards of 800,000 signatures, which if those totals are correct, means Reproductive Freedom for All has almost double the required number of signatures and is perhaps the most successful petition drive in Michigan history.
But opponents see the language in this petition as "dangerous."
“It's been very confusing the way this ‘anything goes abortion amendment' is worded," said Christen Pollo, a spokesperson for Citizens to Support MI Women and Children coalition. "Many people have not really been sure about what it is that they're signing when they're on the side of the street.”
Pollo tells me she views the petition as unclear and would force changes to many Michigan laws.
“We've found as many as 47 state laws that would be either modified or repealed by this," she said
The ACLU of Michigan told FOX 47 in a statement that, “The momentum for this ballot measure and the strength of our statewide network of volunteers is only growing. We continue to be laser focused on collecting as many valid signatures as possible to qualify for the Nov. 8 ballot”
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