WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Just over a month out from the November election, both sides on one of the most divisive issues on the ballot — abortion — are working to get out the vote.
Voters will decide on Proposal 3, which if passed would enshrine reproductive rights, including the right to abortions, in the Michigan Constitution.
At a restaurant on 28th Street in Wyoming on Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a staunch supporter of abortion rights, took part in what was billed as a roundtable on Proposal 3.
“Who am I to say that I know best for anyone of us sitting at this table, or any one of the people out there?” one of the guests invited to the roundtable said.
The arguments were familiar, with supporters of Proposal 3 saying ending access to abortions would set off a chain reaction of women’s health concerns and attacks on women’s rights.
“Abortion care is a part of reproductive care for woman that we’ve had for 49 years and the thought that we might not have access to it is really scary and disturbing. And I think that’s why these conversations are so important,” Whitmer told News 8.
Michigan has an abortion ban on the books but it has not been enforced since the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. Even after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned that ruling this summer, the ban has been in legal limbo as challenges work their way through the courts.
One participant in the roundtable talked about her decision to have an abortion after getting pregnant in college.
“Subsequently she’s been married, has had a couple of kids. She says she’s raising her kids in a household where she’s a doctor because she was able to get through her schooling,” Whitmer said. “So you think about what that would mean for her personal economics, what it would mean for our state economics. The ability for women to participate in the workforce was bolstered with Roe v. Wade.”
On Tuesday, debate took center stage on the Hope College Campus in Holland.
“We have a lot of work to do, a lot of messages to spread to really explain Proposition 3,” Grace Brown said.
She heads the Hope College chapter of the anti-abortion rights group Students Cherishing Life and was at an on-campus discussion Tuesday titled, “The Harmful Effects of Abortion on Women,” featuring author Alexandra DeSanctis.
“We have to have something to say about the good. We have to be able to explains that abortion is wrong, because life is good.” DeSanctis told News 8 before the event.
DeSanctis said the message from the anti-abortion rights side needs to go beyond protecting the life of an unborn child. While abortion rights supporters say a ban would take away women’s rights, DeSanctis argued abortion has actually been a setback to them.
“I think many people on the other side are very sincere in their fear that woman will be disadvantaged,” DeSanctis said. “Abortion is not actually a solution to those problems. Telling women that their children are standing between them and success or fulfillment or flourishing is a lie. The trust is that our society needs to adapt to become a more pro-woman society. Not to hand woman those sorts of fake solution of killing their own children as some kind of Band Aid solution.”
Proposal 3 will be decided in the general election on Nov. 8.