Reproductive Freedom for All’s Campaign of Lies and Omissions

August 16, 2022

The Detroit Free Press has a long article presenting both sides’ views of how the Anything Goes Abortion Amendment would work. The article purports to quote “legal experts” who are implied to be neutral parties. Let’s examine in-depth these arguments.

Abortions without parental consent

The Free Press article frankly admits, “The amendment creates an unambiguous right for minors to seek abortions.” However, it quotes a UM and MSU law professor who both say there could still be parental consent requirements allowed.

But how? The amendment plainly says any law or regulation cannot “infringe on that individual’s autonomous decision-making.” If a child wants to have an abortion without telling their parents, how can the state blatantly violate the Michigan Constitution and infringe on the child’s autonomous decision making? “They just will” doesn’t count as informed legal analysis.

The article cites Reproductive Freedom for All’s contradictory statements on this topic, claiming they either deny it or aren’t sure. However, the Free Press glaringly omits their frank admission in another interview that the amendment allows secret teen abortions:

“’That same 12-year-old, if they were to get pregnant, would be able to go to an abortion clinic and have the life of their child terminated without their parent even being informed about that fact.’

Backers of the constitutional amendment don’t dispute the claims, saying that the proposal guarantees the right to reproductive health from birth including not only abortion but also miscarriage care and contraception.”

“From birth,” they say.

Late-term abortions

The article makes a blanket claim without any factual support that late-term abortions “generally occur due to severe complications with a pregnancy.” All existing evidence points to the opposite conclusion.

The article doesn’t explain that the amendment redefines viability. The article claims it defines it “as the point in a pregnancy when a health care professional determines that a fetus could likely survive outside the uterus.”

However, what the amendment actually says is, “’Fetal viability’ means: the point in pregnancy when, in the professional judgment of an attending health care professional and based on the particular facts of the case, there is a significant likelihood of the fetus’s sustained survival outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures.”

What are “extraordinary medical measures”? It’s not defined and lets “health care professionals” determine that. Who is a “health care professional”? Under Michigan law, a massage therapist, a vet, an athletic trainer are “health care professionals.” How are athletic trainers qualified to act as OB/GYNs?

The so-called “legal experts” quoted in the article both ask voters to ignore what the amendment says by claiming no “medical professional” would approve a late-term abortion on a healthy fetus. Well, abortionists have done this in the past in Michigan, and most late-term abortions occur on healthy children. The legal experts give no expert analysis on why this everyday situation would never happen in the future. More critically, they never explain how the amendment text would legally allow late-term abortion bans.

Non-doctors performing abortions

The amendment never refers to doctors, only “health care professionals.” It also plainly states, “Nor shall the state penalize, prosecute, or otherwise take adverse action against someone for aiding or assisting a pregnant individual in exercising their right to reproductive freedom with their voluntary consent.”

That means anyone performing an abortion can’t be punished. How can you punish an unqualified person for performing a botched abortion when the amendment says that “someone” can’t be penalized or prosecuted? Again, amendment backers are basing their arguments on their own amendment just being ignored and violated at will.

One of the legal experts offers her in-depth analysis by pointing to the amendment’s definition of a compelling state interest: “Clinical standards of practice and evidence-based medicine don’t allow Joe Schmo the dentist or barista to perform an abortion, and so states can restrict that.”

Uh huh. Sure. Well, if you keep reading that same section on compelling state interests which says what kind of laws and regulations would be allowed under this amendment, it also says no law can “infringe on that individual’s autonomous decision-making.”

So, we have the amendment plainly stating that no person can be prosecuted for helping a pregnant woman have an abortion, and that no law can restrict anyone’s autonomous decision making on anything related to pregnancy. But somehow the state will be able to violate the Michigan Constitution and restrict a “health care professional” or any joe schmo from performing an abortion on anyone.

Everything else

Given the fact that the amendment applies to ALL matters relating to pregnancy, it’s a pretty glaring error that the article contains practically zero discussion of all of the other state laws and regulations that would be upended or repealed by the amendment.

There’s no discussion of parental consent related to sterilizations and hormone treatments; no discussion of how medical care related to pregnancy could be affected; no further discussion of the implications of children having an unlimited right to ALL matters related to pregnancy and no law allowed that restricts their autonomous decision making—like how and with who they are becoming pregnant.

Expect more lies

Perhaps “lies” is a strong word, and the Reproductive Freedom for All coalition members haven’t really read their own amendment. Perhaps they are incapable of understanding it. That would explain how they circulated thousands of petitions without noticing a massive number of typos in their amendment text.

However, what matters isn’t their ignorance, or the Free Press’ lack of due diligence in explaining the amendment or finding neutral legal experts. The only thing that matters is the words of this amendment, which could forever be placed into our constitution and supersede every law and regulation related to abortion, pregnancy, and ALL matters related to pregnancy.

This is likely how the campaign will go over the next few weeks. We will cite the very unambiguous amendment language, Reproductive Freedom for All will simply deny it and pretend the amendment changes nothing, and some random experts who are probably voting for the amendment because of their unquestioning commitment to unlimited abortion will come along and pretend that nobody can read the amendment for themselves.