Legal Plaintiffs Include National and State Member Organizations, Legislators and Parent

LANSING, MI – Today, on the steps of the Lansing Capitol building, Right to Life of Michigan (RLM) President Barbara Listing announced the organization is one of 16 plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging central elements of Proposal 3 on federal constitutional grounds. The legal complaint, filed earlier this morning, comes one year to the day after the passage of Proposal 3 and re-emphasizes the assertion that the proposal’s vague, extreme language would pave the way for dangerous unintended consequences for Michigan citizens. The announcement of the lawsuit was made to cheers from a crowd of thousands of onlookers that spread far beyond the Capitol grounds at the state’s first-ever March for Life.

“Earlier this morning, a federal civil rights lawsuit was filed challenging the constitutionality of central elements of Proposal 3. The provisions asserted to be unconstitutional under federal law threaten legal protections for pregnant women seeking healthcare, the rights of physicians to care for patients, and the rights of parents already under attack on many fronts. At issue is also the sweeping disenfranchisement both of Michigan voters and of the authority of the legislature in the days and years ahead. Today, our message to all Michigan citizens now at risk from this extreme measure is – we stand with you. The plaintiffs in this case stand with you. Thousands of Michiganders here today are standing up for your rights,” stated Mrs. Listing. (Eighty-two buses added to the influx of cars and vans descending on the state capital filled with Michigan citizens committed to stand for a choice for life and protections for women and children.)

The legal complaint (linked here) was filed by the American Freedom Law Center, along with co-counsel Great Lakes Justice Center, in the United States District Court for the Westen District of Michigan on behalf of the plaintiffs (listed below) against Gretchen Whitmer, in her official capacity as Governor; Dana Nessel, in her official capacity as Attorney General; and Jocelyn Benson, in her official capacity as Secretary of State.

The plaintiffs seek a declaration that Article I, Section 28 of the Michigan Constitution, which is the provision of the state constitution that was created by Proposal 3, violates the United States Constitution and a permanent injunction to prevent the implementation and enforcement of Section 28.

Plaintiffs

The plaintiffs in the case are Right to Life Michigan; American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, on behalf of itself, its members, and their patients; Gina Johnsen, Representative, Michigan House of Representatives; Luke Meerman, Representative, Michigan House of Representatives; Joseph Bellino, Jr., Senator, Michigan Senate; Melissa Halvorson, M.D.; Christian Medical and Dental Associations, on behalf of itself, its members, and their patients; Crossroads Care Center; Celina Asberg; Grace Fisher; Jane Roe, on behalf of preborn babies; Andrea Smith; John Hubbard; Lara Hubbard; Save the 1, on behalf of itself and its members; and Rebecca Kiessling.

Overview of Lawsuit

The lawsuit advances five claims under the United States Constitution, and those claims are briefly summarized below.

First, that Art. I, Sec. 28 (Proposal 3) causes great harm to pregnant women (and others) as a class by exempting them from the legal protections afforded to other classes of individuals in violation of the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Second, that Art. I, Sec. 28 violates parental rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment as it deprives parents of their right to direct the upbringing and education of their minor children by excluding them from their children’s decisions regarding “reproduction.”

Third, that Art. I, Sec. 28 violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment by overriding any objection on religious grounds to endorsing, providing, or supporting procedures involving “reproduction,” thereby infringing on the rights of conscience and religious exercise protected by the First Amendment.

Fourth, that Art. I, Sec. 28 deprives preborn babies, particularly those with disabilities, newborn babies following a failed abortion, and partially born babies of the right to life without due process of law in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Fifth, that Art. I, Sec. 28 creates an unprecedented, super-right to “reproductive freedom” that remains immune from any legislative action, thereby nullifying the legitimate authority of a coordinate branch of government (the legislative branch) in violation of the Guarantee Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees private citizens the right to a republican form of government and thus protects them from the tyranny of the majority.

For more information on Right to Life of Michigan, visit here. For information on the Michigan March for Life, visit here. For a full list of state March for Life sponsors, visit here.

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Right to Life of Michigan (RLM) is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit organization dedicated to advocating a choice for life for the youngest and oldest members of our human family. Since our founding in 1972, we have remained steadfast in our mission to educate the public on life issues, support legal protections for women’s health, the elderly, disabled and unborn children and support prolife candidates. RLM has 80 affiliates across the state and more than 282,550 members. The organization achieved 172 electoral victories in 2022 alone. With more than 50 life-affirming protections passed into law, RLM estimates more than 269,633 lives have been saved by just one legal protection. For more information, visit  RTL.org.

For more information:

Genevieve Marnon, Legislative Director, (989) 277-7933,  gmarnon@rtl.org.