Activist state

Michigan Board of State Solicitors Take Abortion Ban to State Supreme Court

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Michigan voters will have to wait for the state Supreme Court to decide whether a 1931 law will ban abortions.

The Michigan Board of State Solicitors could not decide on Wednesday whether an amendment to the state constitution enshrining the right to abortion should end up on the November ballot. The board, which is evenly split with two Democrats and two Republicans, squabbled over a technicality in the ballot proposal rather than the substance of the petition.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was behind a campaign to block local prosecutors from being allowed to enforce a 91-year-old abortion law.
(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Council members were divided over a text spacing issue, as some words in the petition were not separated properly.

MICHIGAN JUDGE SAYS COUNTY PROSECUTORS CANNOT ENFORCE ABORTION BAN

“If what was circulated had come to us for review, it would not have been approved,” said Tony Daunt, Republican chairman of the state Elections Commission. “I’m having a hard time understanding why we should let this one go.”

All eyes were on the solicitation board after a judge sued the back and forth process to prevent prosecutors from enforcing the state’s 1931 law that prohibits abortions. There had been debate over whether county attorneys were allowed to enforce the law after a state Court of Appeals panel ruled that employees of the state attorney general do not could not prosecute abortion providers under the law.

Protesters scream as they join thousands marching around the Arizona Capitol following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the landmark Roe v.  Wade on Friday, June 24, 2022 in Phoenix.

Protesters scream as they join thousands marching around the Arizona Capitol following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade on Friday, June 24, 2022 in Phoenix.
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The petition to put the amendment on the November ballot garnered 752,288 signatures, and the Board of Canvassers approved the petition in March. However, the wording of the petition the council considered on Wednesday was different from the March proposal, which did not have spacing issues.

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Abortion rights campaigners argued that the council lacked the power to dismiss the petition due to spacing issues, which do not affect the content of the petition.

“We simply have no authority to dismiss this petition based on challenges to the contents of the petition,” Gurewitz said, according to The Detroit News.