Denver, Colo., Aug 24, 2022 / 05:30 am (CNA).
A ballot initiative in Michigan seeks to enshrine legalized abortion in the state’s constitution. But when voters go to the polls, will they understand what the proposed amendment says?
Calling it a “hodgepodge of nonsensical gibberish” and a “word salad” of “incomprehensible argle-bargle,” opponents of the measure say it is so riddled with typographical errors that state officials should strike it from the Nov. 8 ballot.
“The text of the amendment is filled with run-on words that are incomprehensible, making an already confusing amendment impossible to understand,” Christen Pollo, spokeswoman for Citizens to Support MI Women and Children, a coalition of pro-life groups opposed to the proposal, said Aug. 16.
“Amending the constitution is serious business” she added, “and these people didn’t take it seriously enough even to proofread their own language.”
The group points to 43 errors in the text, including missing spaces between the words of such phrases as “DECISIONSABOUTALLMATTERSRELATINGTOPREGNANCY,” “ORALLEGEDPREGNANCYOUTCOMES” and “THEREISASIGNIFICANTLIKELIHOOD.”
What would the abortion amendment do?
The proposal, known as the Reproductive Freedom for All Amendment, has the backing of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel, both Democrats.
Its 92-word summary says it would establish a “new individual right to reproductive freedom, including [the] right to make and carry out all decisions about pregnancy,” including abortion. The measure would invalidate all state laws that conflict with the amendment.
Though the amendment bars abortion “after fetal viability” except to “protect a patient’s life or physical or mental health,” critics warn that the exceptions would allow late-term abortion for any reason.
The Michigan Catholic Conference is a co-chair of Citizens to Support MI Women and Children and opposes the proposed amendment.
“The proposal would allow abortion all throughout pregnancy, remove parental consent for minors seeking abortions, permit non-physicians to perform abortions, and more,” the Michigan Catholic Conference said in an Aug. 19 bulletin.
Darci McConnell, a spokeswoman for the group Reproductive Freedom for All, which is leading the campaign to pass the proposed amendment, said the group was “confident that we’re in compliance with all legal requirements for ballot proposals.” Hundreds of thousands of voters had “read, understood and signed the petition in support of reproductive freedom for all,” she said.
Citizens to Support MI Women and Children says the text of the proposed amendment with the typographical errors shared with voters is different from the version the Michigan Board of State Canvassers provisionally approved earlier this year. A division of the state’s election bureau, the canvassers board oversees state-wide ballot initiatives and certifies state elections.
The board is expected to decide on whether to certify the abortion proposal for the November ballot at its next meeting Aug. 31, the Detroit News reported.
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