Editorial: Michigan voters can show the country how to protect abortion rights
In 2009, Michigan residents cast their votes on two statewide ballot issues: a constitutional amendment to establish a fetal heartbeat defense as a defense to abortion and a change to the state Constitution to require life-affirming abortions to be performed in an operating room. Voters overwhelmingly rejected both measures. This year, the Legislature is poised to vote next week on new abortion laws, including one that will ban dismemberment abortions.
We cannot let those who voted against the heartbeat and dismemberment proposals in 2009 stand in the way of women’s right to choose in 2010. Here are three initiatives that you can use to show the country how Michigan voters have spoken and how the Constitution can defend their rights.
The constitutional amendment to protect fetal heartbeat is not a “right” that is guaranteed by the Constitution.
The Michigan Constitution establishes a balanced role for the Legislature by requiring it, along with voters, to approve any ballot proposal that gets on the general election ballot. But that same Constitution also allows citizens to amend it, and Michigan’s amendment process provides voters with multiple opportunities to change how a proposal will be judged by Michigan voters. Michigan’s constitution is the same as the California constitution except for two significant differences: no “rights” or “privileges” are guaranteed, and the vote only requires a majority vote to pass, not a majority by each and every citizen.
Voters have a responsibility to protect the rights of women, but they also have the responsibility to reject laws that violate basic human rights.
Despite what the anti-choice extremists and legislators think, a woman’s right to choose does not include the right to have an abortion whenever she wants it.
Legislative proposals such as the ban on dismemberment abortions violate the constitutional guarantee of a woman’s right to choose.
The legislation is based on