Abortion on the ballot: Michigan election board rejects vote on petition that would legalize abortion

Will abortion be on the ballot in November?

The issue is already a defining feature of the midterm election cycle. But on Wednesday, the state election board that oversees what qualifies for Michigan ballots will decide whether a petition that would legalize abortion in the state constitution can be voted on Nov. 8.

The proposed amendment would overrule the prevailing law in Michigan that outlaws abortion without exception for rape or incest. The Michigan Election Bureau recommended the new petition for the ballot last Thursday after verifying it had enough signatures to qualify. 

It will now be up to the State Board of Canvassers to approve the measure during a hearing Wednesday. 

The legality of getting an abortion in Michigan is about as gray as it comes. The only law on the books is from 1931 that only allows for an abortion if a mother's life is at risk. The overturning of Roe V. Wade in June would have triggered the law but a judge ordered the law suspended if that were to happen. 

Several more court rulings later and an injunction on the law remains in place after an Oakland County judge upheld the order after a two-day hearing in August. Judge Jacob Cunningham ordered the injunction remain until after the election.

BACKGROUND: Abortion remains legal in Michigan, for now

The State Board of Canvassers doesn't always accept the election bureau's recommendation as was the case when the office said several Republican candidates for governor should not qualify for the ballot after submitting fraudulent signatures earlier this year. 

ELECTION SURVEY: Two-thirds of likely voters support abortion measure in Michigan

The board, made up of two Democrats and two Republicans, tied on the vote, which kept the candidates off the ballot and upheld the recommendation. 

If Wednesday's ruling on the abortion petition deadlocks, it will also mean the petition will be rejected. However, a final decision would likely come from the Michigan Supreme Court.