When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in its Dobbs decision this summer, abortion did not become illegal in the U.S. The court simply ruled (rightly) that there is no right to an abortion in the U.S. Constitution. That returned the question of abortion to the states.
Some states had pre-existing pro-life laws that soon sprung to life. Other states responded with new protections for unborn human beings. Some states’ highest courts have claimed a right to abortion was secretly lurking in their state constitutions all along.
Finally, some states are pushing to create such a right in their state laws. Perhaps the most egregious is Proposition 3, the “Right to Reproductive Freedom” state constitutional amendment, which is up for a vote next month in Michigan.
Proposition 3 would enshrine abortion as an absolute right in state law. That’s bad enough, but since it’s written so vaguely—probably by design—it would do a lot more than that. If voters approve this amendment, they could unwittingly be rejecting not only the right of the unborn to life, but the rights of parents to protect and direct the upbringing of their minor children.
The first concern—the rights of parents—comes from Proposition 3’s use of the term “individual.” It means that anyone, including a minor, could have a right to abortion, birth control, or other reproductive surgeries like the removal of healthy breasts. All without the knowledge or consent of parents.
What happens if a young girl is the victim of abuse? Under this law, the abuser or scared boyfriend—also an “individual”—could badger her into having an abortion. The parents would thus lose the chance to intervene or prosecute.
Beyond abortion, this amendment would provide access to birth control and cross sex-hormones. Parents across the United States are fighting teachers and administrators who socially transition their sons or daughters without the parents’ knowledge or consent. In many states, schools are the mouth of a pipeline that leads to gender clinics and cross-sex hormones—again administered without parents’ consent.
Parents are best equipped to protect and care for their child’s well-being. They have both the right and responsibility to do so. Proposition 3 would take that right away and leave it up to minors or the influence of other adult gender ideologues.
How is this possible? The chief mischief lies in the phrase “reproductive freedom,” which courts are bound to apply to far more than abortion.
First, on abortion, Proposition 3 is radical. It would wipe out Michigan’s modest pre-Dobbs protections for unborn human beings. That includes a law protecting children born alive after botched abortions. If that law falls, then in Michigan, a right to an abortion will become a right to a dead baby.
In the same way, Proposition 3 could override Michigan’s ban on the ghoulish practice of partial-birth abortion, a ban most Michiganders support. It would also pave the way for eugenic abortions, or abortions based on sex, disability, or race. A woman (or the man coercing her) could argue that giving birth, or even a failed abortion that leads to a live birth, would cause undue “harm” to her mental health. On these grounds alone, this law would make abortion for any reason legal during all nine months of pregnancy.
What if a woman suffers medical malpractice from her abortion or is coerced into receiving one? By prohibiting the state from “discriminating” against someone who assists a woman in her abortion, it leaves the woman vulnerable to harm and with limited legal recourse.
The state, and each person voting on this amendment, has a vested interested in protecting minors, parental rights, and live children over abortion. For a long time, the Supreme Court and federal law have prohibited taxpayer dollars from funding abortions. Most taxpayers support this. Under Proposition 3, though, Michigan taxpayer dollars could fund abortions, birth control, cross-sex hormones, fertility treatments, and even puberty blockers.
Second, under Proposition 3, reproductive care includes, but is not limited to, protections for “contraception, sterilization… and infertility care.” That would create an individual right to birth control, morning-after pills, cross-sex hormones, sex sterilization surgeries, or other harmful chemicals that alter the normal functioning of the male or female body.
Even if you support the use of these treatments, very few people support Proposition 3’s blatant rejection of age requirements, parental rights, or the requirement that taxpayers fund these expenses.
Michigan’s Proposition 3 is a radical amendment that goes beyond Roe v. Wade. It fails to protect minors or the rights of parents to be involved in the well-being and medical care of their children.
If all that weren’t bad enough, Proposition 3 hopes to achieve this on the taxpayers’ dime. Is that really what Michiganders really want?
LifeNews Note: Jay W. Richards, Ph.D., is director of the DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family at The Heritage Foundation, as well as the think tank’s William E. Simon senior research fellow in religious liberty and civil society. This column originally appeared at Daily Signal.