PSC Midterm Election Reflections: Michigan
Jamie Chornoby (MPP ’24)
The decision of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022) overturned Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), highlighting longstanding inadequacies in sexual and reproductive healthcare in the United States. The decision follows a wave of attacks on abortion rights, contraceptive coverage, patient privacy, and clinic access. With a decline in federal protections, some are turning to state legislation to codify rights. Michigan is leading the way with Proposition 3, the Reproductive Freedom For All (RFFA) ballot initiative.
RFFA proposes an amendment to Article I section 28 of Michigan’s state constitution that would establish individual rights to reproductive freedoms, allow state regulation of abortion in some cases, and prohibit prosecution of patients and providers for exercising these rights. Protections safeguard contraception, sterilization, infertility care, abortion, prenatal care, miscarriage management, childbirth, and postpartum care.
As an absentee Michigan voter, I proudly signed the petition to secure RFFA’s spot on the November 8 ballot. I stand with 753,759 people who together delivered the most signatures for a ballot initiative in Michigan’s history. I support RFFA because reproductive autonomy is essential for gender equity. We cannot continue to deprive women of access to a full range of healthcare services, block doctors from providing care, and eliminate key family planning resources. Everyone knows someone who has had an abortion – even if they do not realize it.
RFFA is leading in local polls and stands a chance at amending Michigan law. If RFFA succeeds, it may guide other battleground swing states where polarization is rampant – or even dangerous. In 2020, a group of right-wing extremists organized a domestic terror plot to kidnap Michigan’s most prominent elected reproductive rights champion, Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Both Proposition 3 and the gubernatorial race are on the November 8 ballot.
Jamie Chornoby (’26) is a Master of Public Policy student at Duke University and a member of the Polis Student Committee. This piece was submitted as a reflection on the 2022 Midterm Elections. This content does not represent the official or unofficial views of the Sanford School, Polis, Duke University, or any entity or individual other than the author.