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2022 Year in Review: Reproductive rights coverage

When Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2022, Michiganders rallied around abortion and reproductive rights. An initiative even landed the issue on the ballot with Proposal 3, which passed this year. Michigan’s midterm election was characterized by overwhelming Democratic success – and experts say the issue presented on the proposal helped with such high voter turnout.

Check out some of the highlights from our 2022 reproductive rights coverage.

Dr. Audrey Lance, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Northland Family Planning, knew she wanted to provide abortion care since the day her school's chapter of Medical Students for Choice went to a reproductive rights rally.
Paulette Parker/Michigan Radio
Dr. Audrey Lance, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Northland Family Planning, knew she wanted to provide abortion care since the day her school's chapter of Medical Students for Choice went to a reproductive rights rally.

Nine days in a Michigan abortion clinic, as election looms

The night before her abortion, Melissa got off work and dropped her kids off with the grandparents. She then drove nearly four hours from her Ohio home, across the state border into Michigan, arriving at her hotel at 3 a.m.

By 8 a.m., she was at the front desk at Northland Family Planning in metro Detroit, eyes puffy from exhaustion, hair pulled off her face into a loose bun, her hands disappearing inside the sleeves of her black sweatshirt. For the past three months, Melissa had been desperately trying to get this appointment.

“I was so relieved, after the struggle,” Melissa said, sinking into a chair inside one of the clinic’s waiting areas. She put her chin down on her chest, pink splotches appearing on her cheeks. She didn’t expect to cry. “It shouldn’t be this hard.”

Lennon Center Executive Director Mariann Bolton wants to broaden the support clinics such as hers offers pregnant women.
April Baer
/
Michigan Radio
Lennon Center Executive Director Mariann Bolton wants to broaden the support clinics such as hers offers pregnant women.

Stateside Podcast: Inside a crisis pregnancy center

There’s a small office in Dearborn Heights where women call or visit when they’re pregnant and they don’t know what to do about it.

The Lennon Center is a single-story, tan commercial building. It’s pretty nondescript. It’s located off a busy road on the edge of a suburban neighborhood.

To be clear, it's run by an organization that opposes abortion. And it’s one of many in the state that you might hear called “crisis pregnancy centers.”

protestors holding signs on both signs of the abortion rights argument in an outdoor protest
Jodi Westrick
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Michigan Radio
Protestors on both sides of the abortion rights argument hold signs at a "Bans Off Our Bodies" protest in Ann Arbor, Mich., May 14, 2022.

Reproductive rights ballot initiative turns in record-breaking number of signatures

The petition campaign to enshrine abortion rights in the Michigan Constitution turned in signed petitions on Monday to put the question on the November ballot. Organizers say an amendment would end any uncertainty in Michigan on whether abortion is legal in the state, after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Six pallets of boxes were delivered to the front steps of the state Bureau of Elections, where they were unloaded and carried inside to be checked in. The group then adjourned to the nearby Lansing Center to savor the moment and fire up their coalition for what’s next.

“Stand up! Fight back! Stand up! Fight back!”

Proposal 3 passes, enshrines abortion rights in Michigan Constitution

Michigan voted to enshrine abortion access and broad reproductive rights in the state constitution on Tuesday. In what supporters described as a “historic victory,” the vote was the culmination of a massive campaign effort from both sides in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“Today, the people of Michigan voted to restore the reproductive rights they’ve had for 50 years,” said Darci McConnell, a spokesperson for the Prop 3 campaign, in a statement early Tuesday morning. “Michigan has paved the way for future efforts to restore the rights and protections of Roe v. Wade nationwide.”

The passage of Proposal 3 also nullifies a 1931 state law criminalizing abortion, which had become the subject of numerous court battlesin recent months. In September, a Court of Claims judge issued an injunction against enforcement of the ban. But support for the ban from Republican legislators and some county prosecutors all but guaranteed further appeals.

Pro-abortion-rights activists hold signs alongside anti-abortion-rights activists outside the Supreme Court last month.
Saul Loeb
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AFP/Getty Images
Pro-abortion-rights activists hold signs alongside anti-abortion-rights activists outside the Supreme Court last month.

Reproductive rights issue drew Democrats to the polls

Democrats won control of the governor's mansion and both the State Senate and House of Representatives in Tuesday’s elections, a "trifecta" of state power that the party has not held in Michigan in 40 years.

The path to a majority in the State Legislature wasn’t a done deal for Democrats. Oakland University Political Science Professor David Dulio said the party was aided by a contentious ballot issue over reproductive rights that drew more Democratic voters to the polls.

“I think that issue being on the ballot and being such a heavy focus of the Whitmer campaign early on, plus the advertising that its allies did, really energized the base,” he said. “I think that that is what helped put some of those candidates on the Democratic side over the top in those close State House and State Senate races.”

Morgan Womack joined Michigan Radio as a digital news intern in June. She is a journalism student at Michigan State University.