Morning Sun

Ballot drive to protect abortion rights launched

Petition would also affirm right to make decisions on birth control

- By David Eggert

A ballot drive launched in Michigan on Friday would enshrine a woman’s right to an abortion in the state constituti­on, as the U.S. Supreme Court considers weakening or overturnin­g its landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

Reproducti­ve Freedom for All’s petition would affirm the right to make pregnancy-related decisions without interferen­ce, including about abortion and other reproducti­ve services such as birth control, supporters said. The groups leading the effort are Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and Michigan Voices.

Michigan still has a 90-year-old abortion ban on its books if Roe is reversed, and Republican legislativ­e leaders oppose Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s request to repeal the law.

Michigan is among eight states with unenforced, preroe abortion bans.

The high court last month heard arguments on whether to uphold Mississipp­i’s ban on abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.

Mississipp­i has asked the conservati­ve-leaning court to overrule Roe and a follow-up 1992 decision that prevents states from banning abortion before viability, the point around 24 weeks of pregnancy when a fetus can survive outside the womb. Its decision is expected next summer.

Organizers of the ballot initiative need about 425,000 valid voter signatures to put it before the electorate in November. It can cost millions of dollars to successful­ly circulate petitions.

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