Voters in battleground state Michigan elected to protect abortion rights during Tuesday’s midterm elections, joining California and Vermont in the decision to enshrine the measure in the state constitution.
The initiative came months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which gave states the power to protect or ban abortion. The decision in June lead to near-total bans in a dozen states and was a hot topic leading up to the midterms.
According to The Associated Press, supporters in Michigan collected more signatures than any other ballot initiative in state history to get it before the voters.
The passing of Proposal 3 puts a definitive end to a 1931 ban on abortion that had been blocked in court, but could have been reviewed. It also affirms the right to make pregnancy-related decisions about abortion and other reproductive services, such as birth control, without interference.
Michigan State University junior Devin Roberts said students seemed “fired up” and that the school’s polling sites had lines of voters throughout the day, the AP reported. Roberts said the ballot measure was one of the “main drivers of the high turnout.”
“There’s a lot of energy for Prop 3 on campus right now, whether you agree with abortion or not,” Roberts said. “I think students want to have the same rights that their parents had when they were younger.”
According to AP VoteCast, about two-thirds of 90,000 voters surveyed on the issue said abortion should be legal in most or all cases. About 1 in 10 voters said abortion should be illegal in all circumstances.
The same survey showed about 6 in 10 voters were dissatisfied or angry with the Supreme Court’s decision, compared with fewer who said they were satisfied or happy.
James Miller, 66, of Flint, Michigan, said he thought of his daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters when he voted in favor of the measure, according to AP.
“I think we should do the right thing for women,” Miller said. “It’s her body; it’s her privacy.”
Michelle Groesser, of Swartz Creek, Mich., told the Associated Press she opposes abortion, but believes any ban would likely have a few exceptions. She said “in a perfect world, I personally would want all life preserved.”
Opponents to the measure said protecting abortion rights could have far-reaching effects on other laws in the state, such as one requiring parental notification of an abortion for someone under age 18.
Legal experts said changes to other laws would only happen if someone sued and won, a process that could take years and has no certainty of success, AP reported.
Brian Bauer, 64, of Mundy Township, said the proposal was confusing, so he voted against it.
Bauer told the AP he is an abortion opponent who supports some limited exceptions, “but nobody’s willing to throw (in) any kind of compromise … it’s either a yes or no vote.”