LANSING, Michigan (LifeSiteNews) — A proposed amendment to the Michigan Constitution to enshrine a state-level right to abortion would also create a right to sterilize and potentially even transition minors without their parents’ knowledge or consent, warn legal experts and religious authorities in the Great Lakes State.
Michigan Proposal 3, the so-called Right to Reproductive Freedom Initiative (RRFI), would enshrine a state constitutional right to “reproductive freedom,” defined as the “right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including but not limited to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care.”
When the U.S. Supreme Court recognized in June’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that the U.S. Constitution “makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” it restored states’ ability to decide their own abortion laws. Pro-abortion activists hope to prevent state legislatures from doing so by establishing new “rights” to abortion in state constitutions.
Michigan is one of three states voting on such initiatives next month (other states are working to establish the opposite with pro-life initiatives). According to an analysis by the Great Lakes Justice Center (GLJC), as well as an article by former Michigan Solicitor General John Bursch published by the Michigan Catholic Conference, the implications reach far beyond the expansive text.
“Proposal 3 goes much farther than merely codifying Roe v. Wade, invalidating more than two dozen Michigan pro-life laws and authorizing minors to obtain abortions without a parent’s consent or even notice,” Bursch writes. And “because Proposal 3 grants this right to ‘every individual,’ without age limits, that means the proposal, on its face, authorizes a minor to obtain a sterilization without parental consent or even notice, such as when a minor desires to change his or her gender.”
GLJC notes that because the proposal does not define any of its terms, it “guarantees many new rights will be ‘created’ by activist courts […] [w]hat about gender-reassignment surgeries (i.e., the sterilization of men and women) and related medical care? The possibilities are unconstrained and endless.”
The group further warns that the amendment’s drafters “have deliberately crafted language which subverts and narrows” the “strict scrutiny analysis” test by which conflicts between statutes and constitutional language are adjudicated, “in a manner that will produce manifestly unjust results.”
“Under normal circumstances, a law prohibiting sexual conduct between adults and minors, for example, would be characterized as advancing the state’s interest in protecting minors from sexual exploitation and abuse by predatory adults,” GLJC explains. But the amendment declares that a state interest is only “compelling” if “it is for the limited purpose of protecting the health of an individual seeking care, consistent with accepted clinical standards of practice and evidence-based medicine, and does not infringe on that individual’s autonomous decision-making.”
This, GLJC warns, means that “all other legitimate and well-recognized compelling state interests such as the protection of minors, the protection of parental rights, as well as many others, will never be adequate to uphold a law if challenged under the RRFI.”
Proposal 3 and the other state abortion referendums will be among the first major tests of how public opinion will react to America’s new abortion status quo. A proposed amendment to clarify the Kansas Constitution does not protect abortion failed at the ballot in August, thanks in part to pervasive misinformation about the impact pro-life laws have on women facing medical emergencies.
Properly gauging public opinion on abortion has long been hobbled by inconsistently or inaccurately-framed poll questions, popular misconceptions about what abortion laws and rulings have and have not done, and discrepancies between what voters think of the issue and how they prioritize it. Ultimately, a more accurate read of the issue will likely not become clear until voters’ reactions to newly-enforced state laws start being reflected in elections.