Women’s Empowerment Organization hosted an intellectual consideration of Michigan civics.

As Election Day nears and the intensity surrounding the midterm election grows, Proposal 3 seems to be on the forefront of many of the debates in Michigan. Proposal 3 asks voters if the state of Michigan should add an amendment to the state’s constitution protecting reproductive rights. A “Yes” vote adds an amendment to the state’s constitution protecting reproductive rights, while a “No” vote would prevent such an amendment at this time.

The “What is Prop 3?” event was hosted by the Women’s Empowerment Organization on October 27th in Cook Auditorium in the DePree Art Center, and the auditorium was at full capacity as candidates Larry Jackson and Kim Nagy, as well as Rivka served as guest speakers. All the candidates drew from their personal experiences to discuss the importance of this issue.

Rivka had a unique perspective, because having grown up in a strict, fundamentalist household, she formerly held traditionally “pro-life” views. She worked for organizations such as Right to Life and various pregnancy crisis hotlines. She was able to speak on how she has since learned the falsehoods of those past views, and she was able to expose the false narrative that anti-choice supporters push forward.

Nagy told a deeply personal story about a family friend who had to receive a late-term abortion due to a severe genetic abnormality. The family had already picked out a name and was super excited to welcome a new baby boy to their family, but after hearing about how much their son would have to suffer in pain with no chance of survival, they had to make the difficult medical decision that they felt would prevent the most suffering. Nagy spoke about how difficult their grief was, but how if they had been unable to make their own choice, it would have been even more difficult.

The trio also rebuffed anti-choice rhetoric that regards abortion as similar to slavery. The event was the first they had ever heard of this analogy, and all three were taken aback by the comparison, discussing how it was illogical and extreme. Nagy was also honest about how the rhetoric was a stunning example of white privilege.

All three also reflected on their personal experiences of parenthood, with Jackson having five children, Nagy two, and Rivka four. They reminded everyone that no one is “pro-abortion” and that everyone is “pro-life”; simultaneously, the government has no right to make medical decisions for individuals and their families.

The event also served as an important reminder to read through your ballots and do background research before voting. As Kim Nagy noted, other proposals on the ballot require voters to understand the existing precedent before voting on a possible change.

Overall, the event was a wonderful forum to address misconceptions about Prop 3 and the deep significance of the opportunity that voters have to make a difference this election season. It was also a wonderful opportunity to meet candidates in a more personal setting and have the opportunity to learn more about them as individuals and ask questions. Local elections and midterm elections truly matter, and it is up to voters to stay informed to make important decisions while exercising their right to vote. “What is Prop 3?” truly showcased how education, community, and politics can intersect in a productive way.

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