LANSING (Great Lakes News) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is at the front of efforts to drastically expand access to abortion in the state of Michigan. Whitmer stood with several lawmakers and activists during a press conference that introduced two omnibus bills collectively known as the Reproductive Health Act. The bills, currently in the Michigan House as HB 5179 and the Michigan Senate as SB 0622, will fundamentally change Michigan’s abortion policy.
The bills will repeal Michigan’s complete abortion ban and codifies an unlimited health exception in state law, creates an unlimited right to abortion, allows women to sue for damages if she believes that right is being restricted in any way, repeals the partial-birth abortion ban, removes parental consent requirements, removes mandated screening for abortion coercion, opens the door for any medical professional to perform a surgical abortion, and stops local governments and schools from regulating abortion in any way, including through zoning laws. The Republican legislature will most likely prevent the bill from passing, with Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey redoubling his opposition to abortion in any context in a radio interview.
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Rep. Kristy Pagan (D-Canton) introduced the bill for the House and Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) introduced the bill in the Senate. The bills will also prevent any current efforts to restrict abortion, including the current petition drive to restrict “dismemberment abortion” procedures. Right to Life Michigan has centered their advocacy around gathering signatures for a petition allowing the legislature to pass the restriction without risk of a veto by the governor.
Right to Life claims that the bills will make it easier for abortion facilities to provide clandestine services.
“It’s no surprise that Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to follow New York’s lead and allow unlimited abortion-on-demand in Michigan,” said Right to Life Michigan President Barbara Listing. “We know most Michiganders do not support secret teen abortions, unregulated medical facilities, or abortions up to the point of birth. Governor Whitmer claims our petition drive to end dismemberment abortions is banning a ‘safe’ procedure. There’s nothing safe for a child during the later stages of pregnancy when her arms and legs are torn off by forceps, and her body and skull crushed and removed. The bill to end dismemberment abortions has a life of the mother exception, so her rhetoric is as empty as her compassion for viable children who can survive outside the womb.”
Right to Life Michigan is currently organizing opposition to the bills.
“We’ve analyzed the bills and are going to each prolife legislator with a breakdown of the RHA and urging them to reject the bills,” said Right to Life Michigan Legislative Director Genevieve Marnon. “In addition, we are reminding the public that elections have consequences and that voting for pro life candidates ensures these kinds of bills will not become law provided prolife majorities are maintained.”
Marnon believes efforts to expand abortion access comes from a place of desperation.
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“However, it’s possible the reason for the timing is because both prolifers and proabortionists know that for the first time since Roe vs. Wade, there is a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court and the possibility of Roe being overturned is greater than ever,” Marnon said. “In addition, the Supreme Court recently agreed to hear an abortion related case for the first time since Justice Kavanaugh was seated. Like New York, Virginia, Illinois, etc. states are rushing to change their state laws ahead of the day when the decision is returned to them. Obviously, Governor Whitmer would like Michigan to resemble New York.”
The organization plans to continue gathering signatures regardless of the bill’s outcome.
“Prolife people have plenty of backbone, which is why we continue to collect 400,000 signatures on a bill to end the dismemberment abortion procedure that rips backbones out of viable children,” Listing said. “Most Americans do not support late-term abortions, and it’s time for Governor Whitmer to respect that Michigan values life.”