Access to abortion cannot be left to courts and politicians. Let the people decide.
Almost 10 years ago, I stood on the Texas State Senate floor in front of my colleagues, connected and tired. For just under 13 hours I filibustrated to quit a disastrous law that threatened to devastate reproductive health care in Texas.
That day was a test of physical and mental endurance, but it was nothing like the struggle I knew people across the state would face if this draconian anti-abortion bill became law. We stopped the bill from passing that night, but it eventually passed. When the Supreme Court overturned the law three years later, it sounded like vindication.
Since electoral initiatives allow voters to take matters into their own hands, they must be at the heart of the overall strategy to protect the right to abortion.
But now all abortion rights are under threat. A recently draft notice disclosed written by Judge Samuel Alito overturns Roe v. Wade, the case guaranteeing the right to abortion. The reversal is expected to happen when the Supreme Court officially issues its decision this summer.
As a result of this decision, we will have to fight like never before against the laws of the proliferating states. But unfortunately, when we have already challenged these laws in Republican-led state legislatures and in the courts, we have lost. It’s time to recognize that maybe we need a new weapon.
There is a way forward in the states: If the Supreme Court does indeed overturn Roe, enshrining reproductive rights in state constitutions through ballot measures will ensure reproductive health care protections for years to come , especially in states where Republicans control the legislature. Because campaign initiatives empower voters to take matters into their own hands, they must be a central part of the overall strategy to protect abortion rights wherever they are allowed.
If you put important policies like this in front of the people, I’m sure they will choose progress. A Washington Post-ABC Poll found that 75% of Americans believe decisions about abortion should be left to the woman and her doctor. A Gallup poll also found that 80% of the American public thinks abortion should be legal in at least some circumstances.
That’s the thinking behind a coalition, which includes the ACLU of Michigan and the advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood, that is pushing a ballot measure in the state. He would amend the state constitution to affirm that every resident has the fundamental right to reproductive freedom, including birth control, abortion, prenatal care, and choice to have children.
The campaign strives to raise more than 425,000 valid signatures before July 11and if successful, the measure will appear on ballots for the November election. A simple majority of more than 50% is needed for this to pass.and there’s good reason to believe it will: results from a recent WDIV/Detroit News survey found that 67.3% of Michigan Voters Want Roe Against Wade left in place, while only 19.1% of voters want it canceled.
If Roe is canceled and new legal protections are not in place, a 1931 Michigan law which makes abortion illegal and threatens doctors who provide abortion services with prison could come back into effect. The citizens’ initiative would not only protect a wide range of reproductive health care, but ensure that no one goes to jail for providing it.
What’s happening in Michigan might be the way to go. This groundbreaking ballot measure could set the stage for codifying the protections of Roe v. Wade in the states of the country.
It’s no exaggeration to think that purple states like Michigan and even some red states will support abortion rights in referenda. raise wages, expand access to health care, get more paid time off, and implement other life-changing policies for more than 18 million people by his count. They’ve won in red and purple states year after year because when you strip partisan labels, progressive policies are popular. Abortion rights are no different.
There are 23 states across the country that have secure citizen-initiated voting procedures, allowing voters to enact laws or constitutional amendments themselves. In a few of these places, like California and Oregon, the right to abortion is already protected by law. For the remaining states, it will be a powerful tool as advocates push for abortion protections in states like Ohio, Arkansas, Nebraska and Montana. These are places where a ballot measure may be the only tool available since elected officials are unlikely to act.
I chose abortion in my life – for a much-desired but medically unviable pregnancy. I never thought I would be faced with this decision, and I know firsthand how important it was for me to make it with my family and my doctor. No legislator had the right to do that for me. Everyone should have the ability to make such personal decisions without fear of political interference.
I also know what the fight against these regressive laws looks like. I have won, lost and seen bad laws overturned. Unfortunately, today we are faced with a decision that nullifies a long-standing right that generations of women have relied on. Right now, progressives must fight the horrific Supreme Court decision looming on the horizon. If you’re as crazy as I am, support election measures that will protect women’s reproductive health care once and for all.