Washington, DC – On Monday, Wendy Davis, lawyer, politician, and the founder of Deeds Not Words, published an op-ed in NBC Think, highlighting a groundbreaking ballot measure in Michigan that could set the stage to codify Roe v. Wade’s protections in states across the country. Davis argues that we need a new approach to protect us against attacks on abortion rights: ballot measures. 

“There’s a path forward in the states: If the Supreme Court does indeed overturn Roe, enshrining reproductive rights in state constitutions via ballot measures will guarantee the protection of reproductive health care for years to come, particularly in states where Republicans control the legislature. Because ballot initiatives let voters take matters into their own hands, they must be a central part of the comprehensive strategy to protect abortion rights wherever they are allowed,” Davis wrote

The Fairness Project-supported campaign Reproductive Freedom For All is working to advance a ballot measure that would amend the Michigan state constitution to affirm that every resident has the fundamental right to reproductive freedom, including birth control, abortion, prenatal care and the choice to have children. 

In the wake of 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 —  Reproductive Freedom for All recruited more than 20,000 new volunteers in the days following the news leak. The coalition has until July 11 to collect more than 425,000 signatures in order to qualify the proposal for the November ballot.

This ballot measure 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. 

“It’s not a stretch to think that purple states like Michigan and even some red states will back abortion rights in referendums. The progressive Fairness Project, whose efforts I’ve recently joined, is a testament to this, winning 23 of its 24 ballot measure campaigns to raise wages, to expand health care access, to secure more paid time off and to achieve other life-changing policies for more than 18 million people by its tally. They’ve won in red and purple states year after year because when you remove partisan labels, progressive policies are popular. Abortion rights are no different,” wrote Davis

Fairness Project gets involved in ballot measures where there is an extreme disconnect between what voters want and what is happening in their state legislatures. A clear example of that is the issue of reproductive freedom, where there is a robust consensus 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.

How Americans can secure abortion rights when courts and politicians won’t. Read it in NBC Think HERE

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