an abortion activist hols a sign reading "keep abortion legal"

A Wildly Popular Abortion Amendment Was Blocked From Michigan Ballot Because of Minuscule Typos

A proposed state constitutional amendment protecting the right to abortion in Michigan was blocked from appearing on ballots this November after an elections board deadlocked in a vote on whether it could be included.

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The vote came down along strict party lines with the opposition claiming the amendment as written was “gibberish” and “unreadable.” Why? Because of some spacing issues in the text.

You can see for yourself just how ludicrousthat claim is:

What makes this move from the Board of Canvassers even more infuriating is that this amendment was massively popular with voters. The Michigan organization Reproductive Freedom for All got hundreds of thousands more signatures than they needed to have their measure appear on the ballot—close to a million signatures all together. The increasingly illegitimate Supreme Court has overturned federal constitutional protections for abortions and decided this should be an issue returned to the states, except the states are doing everything in their power to still keep voters from having a say in the matter.

There is now a chance for the Michigan Supreme Court to overturn the canvassers’ ruling but any pretense that anti-abortion advocates think this is an issue that should be left up to the states—to the people of those states—is officially dead.

It’s also worth noting that in one major county in Kansas, the recent anti-abortion amendment voters overwhelmingly defeated contained multiple typos. Not just a few spaces missing, but actual misspelled words. That amendment, which was already filled with deliberately confusing language, tried to regulate abortion based on the “circumstnces” of “pregnacy.”

The election commissioner in that battleground county declared that the misspellings of key words did “not change the meaning of the ballot question or its intent.”

And yet the New York Times decided to frame the Michigan typos as an “embarrassing blow to abortion rights supporters.”

The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision has proven many times over to be overwhelmingly unpopular. Across parties, in every state, more people support access to abortion than oppose it. And yet this continues to be an uphill battle, thanks to power-crazy state officials who are vehemently opposed to both abortion access and voting rights (and the two are inextricably linked) and major media outlets eager for whatever reason to keep carrying their water.

(image: Alex Wong/Getty Images)


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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.