House Democrats introduce plan to repeal abortion ban with Whitmer's support

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click to enlarge Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. - Tom Perkins
Tom Perkins
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

With the support of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan House Democrats announced on Tuesday that they will introduce a plan to protect abortion access for women in Michigan by repealing abortion restrictions.

The plan, called the Reproductive Health Care Act, consists of several bills that propose to repeal a 1931 abortion ban law, lift a 24-hour waiting period before someone is able to get an abortion, do away with a ban on abortions qualifying for private insurance coverage, and repeal the need for minors to obtain parental consent for an abortion, among other stipulations. It would also lift barriers to federal and state funding to Planned Parenthood and other health care providers, as well as repeal the requirement for abortion clinics to function as free-standing outpatient surgical facilities.

"In states across the nation, we’ve seen relentless attacks on women’s health," state Rep. Kristy Pagan, D-Canton, said at the unveiling. "We must be proactive in upholding health care access for women in Michigan.”

A large portion of the bills would require a two-thirds vote because they involve repealing either constitutional amendments or initiatives approved by voters. Two-thirds support is an unlikely outcome, as the legislature is controlled by Republicans who are against abortion.

Gretchen Whitmer expressed support for the plan at its unveiling.

"We are acutely aware of how gerrymandered this legislature is and that this is an uphill battle, but that doesn't mean you don't fight it," Whitmer said. "It's important that we continue to push legislation like this and use every tool at our disposal to protect a woman's right to choose."

Michigan is not alone in attempting to protect abortion access, as New York, Oregon Rhode Island, Vermont, and Illinois have all enacted similar bills.

On the other side of the aisle, Michigan Right to Life is currently working on gathering signatures for a ballot proposal to ban dilation and evacuation, a second-trimester procedure. The Michigan Heartbeat Coalition is embarking on another petition drive — one that would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Around the country, more than 40 states have introduced bills that would restrict abortion access, and abortion opponents on a larger scale ultimately have their eyes set on overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court case that legalized a woman’s right to elect to have an abortion.

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