The Michigan Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the Board of State Canvassers to allow a proposal that would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution to appear on the ballot in November. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Michigan's Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a proposal that would enshrine the right to abortion in the state's constitution to appear on the ballot in November.
The state's high court voted 5-2 in favor of allowing the Reproductive Freedom for All ballot measure, which would amend the Michigan constitution to guarantee "a fundamental right to reproductive freedom" including abortion care, contraception infertility care and sterilization.
The ruling orders the Board of State Canvassers to place the ballot measure, which will appear as Proposal 3, on the ballot in November.
The bipartisan board previously was locked in a 2-2 vote along party lines last week. The board's two Republican members voted against approving the question due to objections to spacing and readability in the proposal's text.
Antiabortion group Citizens to Support MI Women and Children objected to the proposal in August, filing a challenge that said the errors caused "strings of gibberish" that should be disqualified from being included in the state constitution.
The group specifically cited three passages in the proposal where spacing issues created typos including "DECISIONSABOUTALLMATTERSRELATINGTOPREGNANCY," "POSTPARTUMCARE" and "ORALLEGEDPREGNANCYOUTCOMES."
"The consequences of this [amendment] are extremely far-reaching," Christen Pollo, a spokesperson for Citizens to Support MI Women and Children told The Washington Post. "Voters must say no to Proposal 3 to keep this confusing and extreme mess out of our state constitution."
In its decision Thursday, the Michigan Supreme Court noted that the full text of the amendment remains in 8-point type as required by law.
"Regardless of the existence or extent of the spacing, all of the words remain and they remain in the same order and it is not disputed that they are printed in 8-point type," the court ruled. "In this case, the meaning of the words has not changed by the alleged insufficient spacing between them."
Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack said the actions of the members of the election board who opposed the ballot measure were "a sad marker of the times" in her majority opinion.
"They would disenfranchise millions of Michiganders not because they believe the many thousands of Michiganders who signed the proposal and were confused by it, but because they think they have identified a technicality that allows them to do so, a game of gotcha gone very bad," she wrote.
A state court last week ruled that Michigan's 1931 law banning abortion is unconstitutional but the state legislature could pass a new ban following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
The Reproductive Freedom for All campaign, which led the effort to collect signatures to get the question on the ballot said it would now shift its focus toward encouraging voters to turn out in November.
"We are energized and motivated now more than ever to restore the protections that we lost under Roe," Darci McConnell, a representative for the group, said.