LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan elections board on Wednesday rejected an abortion rights initiative after its two Republican board members voted against putting the proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot.
The two Democrats on the Board of State Canvassers voted in favor, but getting the measure on the ballot required at least three votes of the four-member board. The Reproductive Freedom for All campaign, which gathered signatures to get the measure on the ballot, is expected to appeal to the Democratic-leaning Michigan Supreme Court in the coming days and expressed confidence it would prevail.
The proposed constitutional amendment aims to negate a 91-year-old state law that would ban abortion in all instances except to save the life of the mother. The meeting drew hundreds of people, who packed the hearing room and overflow rooms for a chance to comment. Pro-life supporters also protested outside.
Michigan's 1931 law — which pro-life supporters had hoped would be triggered by a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade in June — remains blocked after months of court battles. A state judge ruled Aug. 19 that Republican county prosecutors couldn’t enforce the ban, saying it was “in the public’s best interest to let the people of the great state of Michigan decide this matter at the ballot box."
During the public comment period, several citizens called abortion immoral and warned board members against approval.
“I can’t imagine a more important decision that you have to ever make in your life, because I know that you and I will kneel before Christ someday and answer for the decision you make today,” Billy Putman said.