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Organizers of MI petition to codify abortion access ready for final signature push

Several people stand behind a table outside. Next to them is a person in a wheelchair. There is also another person signing a sheet of paper on the table. Groups of people are in the background.
Melorie Begay
Volunteers gather signatures at a May 15 abortion rights rally in Lansing for a petition that would ask voters on the Nov. ballot to codify abortion rights in Michigan.

Representatives of Planned Parenthood of Michigan say they’re confident they’ll reach the signature threshold needed to ask voters in November to guarantee the right to an abortion statewide. But, they’re not taking their foot off the pedal just yet.

Organizers for the "Reproductive Freedom for All" petition have until July 11 to submit the 425,000 signatures necessary for the question to appear on the general election ballot.

PPMI Director of Communications Ashlea Phenicie said they’ve seen a surge of support and donations since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. WadeFriday.

“We’ve had folks popping up at events and rallies across the state all weekend. We’ve seen thousands of volunteers signing up to circulate petitions, people calling us asking us to sign,” Phenicie said.

ACLU of Michigan, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and Michigan Voices have been working on gathering signatures for months, she said. Now, they’re likely to surpass the signature threshold needed to get on the general election ballot.

If approved by voters, the measure would codify access to abortion and contraceptives in the state Constitution.

“We know that a clear majority of Michiganders want abortion to remain safe and legal in Michigan,” she said. ”I think that this swell of support reflects that and also reflects the weight of what’s really at stake now.”

Phenicie said organizers are anticipating the petition will be scrutinized by anti-abortion advocates. She said their goal is to have enough signatures past the threshold to create a buffer. They’ve also implemented a rigorous verification process to ensure the signatures are valid.

“We want to send a resounding message that Michigan voters do support this ballot measure and we have exceeded the requirements,” she said.

Melorie Begay is WKAR-FM's weekend host and a general assignment reporter.
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