Michigan voters approve protecting abortion rights

Proposal 3 puts a definitive end to a 1931 Michigan ban on abortion

Decorations stand on display at a watch party for Michigan Proposal 3 at the David Whitney Building in Detroit on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

Decorations stand on display at a watch party for Michigan Proposal 3 at the David Whitney Building in Detroit on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

Voters in Michigan enshrined abortion rights in the state’s constitution — joining Democratic California and Vermont in taking that step.

Supporters of the push to protect abortion rights in Michigan collected more signatures than any other ballot initiative in state history to get it before the voters. It puts a definitive end to a 1931 ban on abortion that had been blocked in court but could have been revived. It also affirms the right to make pregnancy-related decisions about abortion and other reproductive services such as birth control without interference.

On Michigan State University’s campus, junior Devin Roberts said that students seemed “fired up” and that he had seen lines of voters spilling out of the school’s polling places throughout the day. The ballot measure was one of the main drivers of the high turnout, he said.

“There’s a lot of energy for Prop 3 on campus right now, whether you agree with abortion or not,” Roberts said. “I think students want to have the same rights that their parents had when they were younger.”

Nationally, about two-thirds of voters say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, according to AP VoteCast, an expansive survey of over 90,000 voters across the country. Only about 1 in 10 say abortion should be illegal in all cases.

About 6 in 10 also say the Supreme Court’s abortion decision made them dissatisfied or angry, compared with fewer who say they were happy or satisfied.

James Miller, 66, of Flint, Michigan, said he thought of his daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters when he voted in favor of the measure.

“I think we should do the right thing for women,” he said. “It’s her body; it’s her privacy.”

Michelle Groesser, of Swartz Creek, Michigan, said she opposes abortion, even though she believes that any ban likely would have some narrow exceptions. “In a perfect world, I personally would want all life preserved,” she said.

Opponents have contended the Michigan measure could have far-reaching effects on other laws in the state, such as one requiring parental notification of an abortion for someone under age 18. Legal experts say changes to other laws would only happen if someone sued and won, a process that could take years and has no certainty of success.

Even so, the messaging appeared to resonate with some Michigan voters, including Brian Bauer, 64, of Mundy Township, who said the proposal was confusing and voted against it.

Bauer is an abortion opponent who supports some limited exceptions, “but nobody’s willing to throw (in) any kind of compromise … it’s either a yes or no vote.”

Associated Press writer Tammy Webber in Flint, Michigan, contributed to this report.