Less than two years after assuring Michiganders Proposal 3 would not repeal the state’s parental consent law for abortions, activists are pushing to repeal the parental consent law for abortions.

“This law is actually of no benefit to the vast majority of young people who do involve their parent in the decision,” Human Rights Watch Advocacy Director Jo Becker told the Detroit Free Press. “And for the small number who can’t, it can be deeply, deeply harmful.”

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Human Rights Watch and other aligned abortion activists are promoting a new report to call on likeminded lawmakers in Lansing to repeal a Michigan law that requires those under the age of 18 to obtain parental consent for an abortion.

The law allows for exceptions through a court petition process the Human Rights Watch, ACLU of Michigan, and the Michigan Organization of Adolescent Sexual Health describe in the new report as “invasive, distressing, traumatizing, and often arbitrary.”

“The organizations who published this advocacy piece and their political allies believe they know what is best for children, not parents,” Right to Life of Michigan Legislative Director Genevieve Marnon told the Free Press. “They are actively seeking to remove parents from one of the most important decisions a minor girl could face, one that everyone acknowledges will have a lifelong impact regardless of the decision.”

Thursday’s report notes that “according to Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services, about 700 young people under 18 … have abortions in Michigan each year. While over 85 percent of pregnant youth already involve a parent or guardian in their abortion decision, some cannot, or do not want to, for compelling reasons.”

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The report follows less than two years after organizers for 2022’s Proposal 3 worked feverishly to debunk critics who claimed the measure would repeal the parental consent law. The proposal, approved by voters 57%-43%, enshrined the “right to reproductive freedom” in the Michigan Constitution, giving adults “the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including but not limited to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care.”

While Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer framed Proposal 3 as a means to protect “reproductive freedom” in Michigan in the wake of U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, critics noted the measure went well beyond the federal precedent in that case.

“Planned Parenthood and the ACLU’s amendment would radically distort Michigan’s Constitution to create a new unlimited right to abortion, which would spill over and affect many other issues,” the Citizens to Support MI Women and Children PAC warned in 2022. “This poorly-worded amendment would repeal dozens of state laws, including our state’s ban on tax-funded abortions, the partial-birth abortion ban, and fundamentally alter the parent-child relationship by preventing parents from having input on their children’s health.”

The successful abortion rights ballot proposal came with Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state Legislature for the first time in 40 years. Those majorities swiftly passed a “Reproductive Health Act” to expand abortion access that was signed by Whitmer last year.

But that legislation did not address the state’s parental consent law for abortions, which went into effect in 1993 through a voter-initiated legislative process that bypassed a veto from Democratic Gov. Jim Blanchard.

In the years since, Democrats, Planned Parenthood, ACLU, and others have worked to repeal the law, along with other abortion restrictions, but have been repeatedly thwarted by Republicans.

Those same forces are now preparing for Democrats to regain control of the Michigan House through special elections in April that experts say will send two more Democrats to Lansing. Thursday’s report is intended as the motivation and education for lawmakers to get it done, the ACLU of Michigan’s Merissa Kovach told the Free Press.

Whitmer and other top Michigan Democrats are doing their part with a relentless focus on abortion in social media posts, as well as hosting other events aimed at justifying the change to the public. Whitmer alone has weighed in on social media about “reproductive freedom” at least eight times so far this week.

As abortion activists unveiled their report, Whitmer hosted a “Reproduction Rights Roundtable” in Farmington Hills to “emphasize the critical importance of safeguarding reproductive rights supporting access to reproductive care.” That roundtable followed a similar discussion Downriver on Monday.

Her ultimate goal, she told 19thNews, is to take Michigan’s abortion expansion nationwide.

“I’m hopeful that eventually we will have a national codification of abortion rights and that every woman and family and medical provider in this country has clarity that we are all endowed with the same freedoms to make our own decisions about our bodies and our future. That is my hope,” Whitmer said. “It’s gonna take a while to get there, which is why I’m so sober about the fact that I’m going to continue to fight for this.”