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    ‘Politics need to stay out. Voters need to step in’: RFFA rally for proposal

    LANSING, Mich. — On August 31, the State Board of Canvassers deadlocked about whether or not the Reproductive Freedom For All proposal should be on the November ballot. The board, which consists of two Republicans and two Democrats, was at a standstill — 2-2, along party lines — about the spacing of the words in the proposal. So, they didn’t certify.

    A week later, on Wednesday morning, the Reproductive Freedom For All organization, along with dozens of pro-choice supporters, rallied in Lansing near City Hall to continue their push to get the proposal on the ballot.

    “We’re out. We’re getting our volunteers energized around the need to restore Roe v. Wade here in Michigan,” said Nicole Wells Stallworth during an interview with Fox 17. “The State Board of Canvassers last week in their meeting declined to do a very procedural part of their duty, which was to certify our proposal for the November 8th ballot, on a deadlock vote.”

    Stallworth is the executive director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan. She said she was disappointed when she learned that the board was deadlocked. For months, RFFA and volunteers collected a record-breaking 750,000+ signatures to get it qualified to be on the ballot.

    “This is an apolitical issue. Voters understand that. They understand that this is a medical access issue,” Stallworth said. “Any doctor will tell you that every pregnancy is different and anything can happen at any point during a woman’s pregnancy. We want doctors to make the right choices together with their patients about how to care for a pregnant person during their gestation.”

    Stallworth said what was at stake was the dormant 1931 law that criminalized abortion in Michigan. However, Wednesday afternoon, Judge Elizabeth Gleicher of the Court of Claims ruled that the ban was unconstitutional.

    However, that ruling doesn’t impact the future of the ballot proposal.

    “I was very disappointed in [the board of canvassers]. Not surprised but very disappointed,” said Beata Lamparski of Fems for Democracy. “I was so glad that we had an alternative plan of action.”

    That plan was a request to have the Michigan Supreme Court step in. Friday, September 9, is the deadline to hear from the court.

    Lamparski, who’s also a member of the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network, said she hopes they do and that they judicially decide the path ahead for the proposal.

    In the meantime, she saw Wednesday’s rally as a positive step forward.

    “I’d like to see it as a first step towords getting this proposal on the ballot and passed in November to remind people that there is interest and that politics needs to stay out and voters need to step in,” Lamparski said.

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