The US swing state of Michigan has passed a referendum initiative that would codify reproductive rights in its constitution after months of legal fights and uncertainty around abortion access.
The proposal, which is a component of Tuesday’s midterm elections, effectively restores the rights that were put in jeopardy in June when the US Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, the seminal 1973 ruling that guaranteed access to abortion for almost 50 years.
Proponents of the measure, known as Proposal 3 (PDF), rallied a groundswell of support, collecting more signatures than any other ballot initiative in state history in order to put the issue to a vote.
“We saved lives by passing this in Michigan,” said Darci McConnell, a spokesperson for Reproductive Freedom for All, the group that initiated Proposal 3.
The measure will also block the enforcement of a 1931 state law that outlawed abortion except to save the life of the parent.
If Michigan had banned abortion, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found that the state’s maternal mortality rate could have increased by 25 percent. That rate would have been significantly higher for Black women, who already face disproportionately high rates of maternal mortality in the US.
Michigan was one of five states that had abortion on the ballot in the midterms, and all five states voted in support of abortion access.
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