Michigan abortion-rights battle rakes in cash ahead of referendum

While five states have abortion-related measures on the ballot in November — including California, Kentucky, Montana and Vermont — Michigan’s is set to have the most immediate impact. If the measure passes, language will be added to the state’s constitution guaranteeing the right to abortion as well as contraception and other reproductive health services. If it fails, a 1931 law still on the books could go back into effect, though it’s currently blocked in court.

Both sides of the campaign have spent millions on TV ads, each warning of severe consequences for the state if their side loses. The pro-abortion rights campaign is telling Michiganders that without the ballot initiative, patients will have no protection from government interference in their medical care, including in cases of life-threatening pregnancy complications.

In their spots, the anti-abortion rights groups have claimed that the constitutional amendment would eliminate all restrictions on abortions in the state, including laws requiring parental consent for minors — an argument Democratic officials and some legal experts have disputed. The anti-abortion campaign’s arguments hinge on language in the proposed amendment guaranteeing the right to an abortion for any “individual” rather than any “adult.” Attorney General Dana Nessel and others have called this disinformation, noting that many constitutional rights guaranteed to all individuals are restricted for minors.


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