Abortion rights advocates have taken a first step toward amending Michigan’s Constitution to ensure abortion rights are protected if Roe v Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The campaign, which includes Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union, submitted petition language for an amendment that would replace a long-dormant state law that would ban most abortions.

“This would constitutionally preserve the right of each individual to make a very personal decision regarding reproductive health care, including abortion,” said Nicole Stallworth, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, in an interview with the Michigan Public Radio. “You know, right now we have reached a critical time in our history where access to abortion in Michigan is under threat as the Supreme Court is set to overturn nearly 50 years of precedent and restrict access to abortion. “

The next step would be for the petition form and summary wording at the top of the petitions to be approved by the Michigan bipartisan Council of State Solicitors. It is a voluntary action that would help the petition campaign to protect itself from legal challenges based on technical details. It would also pave the way for signature collection to begin with.

The campaign is expected to collect 425,059 signatures from registered voters to put the proposed amendment on the ballot. It can only take effect if approved in a statewide election.

This action or something like that was expected, said the legislative affairs director of Michigan’s Right to Life, which opposes abortion rights. Geneviève Marnon said a return to a dormant abortion ban seems likely.

“Anyone listening to the oral argument might anticipate that the Supreme Court could very well overturn Roe against Wade, returning the decision to the States,” she said. “So it was not an unexpected decision by the coalition to make this ballot initiative.”

The opposition could include court challenges or a competing election campaign.

“Whatever that sounds like I’m not sure yet,” said Marnon.