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Christian Medical & Dental Associations joins federal lawsuit in Michigan to protect the unborn
Bristol, Tenn.—November 9, 2023—Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), which is the nation’s largest faith-based professional healthcare association, joined a federal civil rights lawsuit this week in the state of Michigan to protect the unborn, to protect pregnant women and to protect parents. On behalf of 16 plaintiffs, including CMDA, the American Freedom Law Center and the Great Lakes Justice Center filed the lawsuit challenging central elements of Proposal 3 on federal constitutional grounds.
“Proposal 3 created a dangerous precedent in the state of Michigan,” said CMDA Senior Vice President of Bioethics and Public Policy Dr. Jeff Barrows, who is an OB/Gyn. “More importantly, it is actively putting the lives of pregnant women and children at risk by exempting them from legal protections, and it is depriving parents of their parental rights.”
The legal complaint 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. According to the Right to Life of Michigan, the announcement of the lawsuit was made to cheers from a crowd of thousands of onlookers at the state’s first-ever March for Life.
The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, seeks 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.
Federal courts have long recognized the propriety of a federal constitutional challenge to a statewide referendum passed by voters resulting in an amendment to a state constitution. The lawsuit advances five claims under the U.S. Constitution, as summarized below:
- First, that Article I, Section 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 Article I, Section 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 Article I, Section 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 Article I, Section 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 Article I, Section 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.
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, MD; Christian Medical & 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.