Washington, DC – The leaked draft majority opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case — which would eliminate the constitutional right to abortion established nearly 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade — underscores the urgent need for state-level action to codify abortion rights. The Fairness Project-supported campaign in Michigan to proactively protect reproductive rights and abortion access is the first of many such campaigns where this battle will unfold over the coming months and years. 

Though the decision is not yet final and abortion remains legal, if the Supreme Court issues this decision in the coming months, 26 states are poised to move quickly to ban abortion, leaving more than 36 million women of reproductive age and people who can become pregnant without abortion access. Barriers to accessing abortion and other health care services have always existed — like finding child care, taking time off of work, and navigating the costs of transportation and lodging associated with traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles. But this decision means the number of people dealing with these obstacles to get the essential health care they need will skyrocket.

At a time when the Supreme Court could put people’s health at risk by restricting access to abortion, and Congress has not moved to codify Roe into law, it is essential that people can use democratic tools like ballot measures to preserve the right to safe and legal access to abortion within their state.

In reaction to this, Fairness Project Deputy Executive Director and Campaigns Director Hannah Ledford released the following statement:

“The draft SCOTUS decision has made it clear: if we want to protect our reproductive rights, we need to do it ourselves. In the event that federal protections are no longer guaranteed, this will become a state-by-state fight over how much protection our fundamental rights will have. The ballot measure process is more important than ever. That’s why we decided early this year to invest in the Michigan campaign to protect reproductive health care, and we’re ready to put every resource we can behind ballot measures across the country that defend this essential right. The fact is most Americans support reproductive freedom. We will continue to fight to overcome partisan games and ensure that everyone has the power to control their own bodies, lives, and futures.

Fairness Project gets involved in ballot measures where there is an extreme disconnect between what voters want and what is happening in their governing bodies. A clear example of that is the issue of reproductive freedom, where there is a robust consensus across the American voting public in favor of defending abortion rights. A Washington Post-ABC poll found that 75% of Americans believe decisions on abortion should be left to a woman and her doctor, including 95% of Democrats, 81% of independents and 53% of Republicans. A Gallup poll also found that 80% of the American public think abortion should be legal.

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