Petitions for two ballot questions banning abortions are circulating right now, but more than 250 health care providers in Michigan are asking voters not to sign in a letter circulated by the Michigan Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
One ballot initiative would ban abortion around six weeks of pregnancy and the other would ban the dilation and evacuation abortion procedure commonly used in the second trimester. The GOP-controlled Legislature in May passed bills for the former, but Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has threatened to veto them.
Citizen-initiated petitions are required to collect 340,047 valid signatures to get on the ballot. However, the Michigan Legislature has the option of adopting the measures before then and the governor can’t veto. Anti-abortion activists have deployed that strategy for previous abortion restrictions.
ACOG said in statement the ballot initiatives “would make abortion out of reach for most women in Michigan.”
“Health care providers know that abortion is an important part of health care for many women, and that is why so many are coming together to ask their fellow voters not to sign these harmful initiatives,” said Matthew Allswede, M.D., chair of the Michigan Section of ACOG. “Michigan’s ob/gyns are grateful that our clinician colleagues from across the spectrum of patient care are speaking out to defend the ability of our patients to make the health care decisions that are right for them and for their families.”
In the letter, the health care providers wrote that “we understand that abortion is a complex issue and that many people have strong and sometimes conflicting feelings about it. We want to honor and respect that.
“But because we are the providers who care for you and your family everyday, we also know that sometimes situations arise that families could never have anticipated. Every woman’s case is unique, and our patients and their families deserve to make the medical decisions that are best for them in discussion with their care providers.”