Contributed by Emily Stumpo, Students for Life of America
When I first started as Student’s for Life’s new Michigan Regional Coordinator, I naively assumed that there was too much at stake in my state. We’d passed several pro-life laws, like a waiting period and parental consent, and our abortion facilities have to be licensed surgical centers, and beyond that, there didn’t seem to be much more to be done legislatively until Roe fell.
Other states that had tried to pass more restrictive legislation had found it rejected by the courts, so it seemed Michigan pro-lifers had achieved all that was reasonable legislatively. My goal was then to mobilize my state against Roe, as well as extend our network of supportive services in the state in preparation for the day when the 1931 Act would again take effect and abortion would be illegal in my state.
I did not anticipate that three short months after I began to support students and grow the pro-life youth movement in my state, our newly-elected Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and Representative Kirsty Pagan, a Democratic legislator from Canton, MI, would take a leaf out of New York Governor Andrew Coumo’s book and propose a Reproductive Health Care Act.
What is the Michigan Reproductive Health Care Act?
This package of bills being called the Michigan Reproductive Health Care Act would do the following.
- Repeal a 1931 law that prohibits doctors from committing abortions.
- Remove regulations that require abortion facilities to operate like free-standing surgical centers.
- Remove the requirement that minors have parental consent before getting an abortion.
- Allow abortion vendors like Planned Parenthood to receive state and federal funding.
- Removes current waiting period law.
- Allows private insurance coverage for abortions.
- Allows “webcam abortions:” chemical abortions done via telemedicine.
While the full text of the legislation has yet to be published, the press conference briefing can leave little room to mistake the intentions of this governor and the Democratic legislature. Whitmer is quoted in the Detroit News as saying, “If Michigan is going to protect all people under the law, it starts with the fundamentals of making sure that we are autonomous in our medical decisions.”
I’d like to remind Governor Whitmer that, according to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, as of 2017, 26,630 of her future constituents were legally aborted. Not only are Governor Whitmer and the Democratic members of the Michigan legislature okay with aborting their constituents, they want more of them to be deprived of their fundamental right to life by expanding abortion across the state. This package of bills is the antithesis of protecting all people under the law.
Students are Speaking Out
Michigan pro-lifers are stuck with Governor Whitmer until 2022. Her governorship poses a threat to women and children in this state as evidenced in her actions early this month when she was making budget cuts.
Kaylee, a student at Western Michigan University & SFLA State Captain –
- “This year’s budget contained $150,000 intended for state universities to provide resources for pregnant and parenting students. Governor Whitmer vetoed these funds set to go to state universities to help students on college campuses across our state. Governor Whitmer also vetoed $700,000 of the budget from Real Alternatives, a program designed to help women of all ages in Michigan communities. The money cut from the budget was directed to go to pro-life centers. With her veto pen, Michigan’s Governor has made it clear that she does not support women who choose life. As a state, we can do better and we can do more for the women and for the students of Michigan.”
Daniel Brant, University of Michigan student –
- “This bill tells women that they are not worthy of the dignity of being supported through pregnancy and that their bodies’ amazing capacity for cultivating and bringing forth life is of no worth. . . It cheapens the value of life and violates the founding principles of our Nation, which holds that All men are created equal, they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Our resources are better spent at crisis pregnancy centers, improving the adoption system, and supporting foster care. These lives are worth it.”
Anonymous University of Michigan Undergraduate Student –
- “After reading the news about the, “Reproductive Health Act,” I feel compelled to express the horror, fear, and anxiety that I felt, which I may continue to feel. I was almost aborted after my mother went to an abortion clinic to get a procedure that would result in my, untimely, death. However, in the very room where my mother was supposed to get an abortion, she changed her mind after having seen an ultrasound of me. Later on in life, my mother got an abortion, which almost lead to her death, which was also a decision she would later grieve. I do not accept this bill, nor does it represent mine or many other Michiganders’ view on the issue of abortion. . . The act is horrific and I reject the, “Reproductive Health Act”.
Al Haynes, member of Students for Life at the University of Michigan –
- “By publicly and officially supporting the Reproductive Health Act, Governor Whitmer is standing before the women, parents, children, and future generations of Michigan and saying “You are not worth it.” The Reproductive Health Act willfully and blatantly ignores the social issues that pressure women to choose abortion as a quick solution to a complicated issue. . . In Michigan, we do not need, nor do we want, abortion without restriction. What we need is better maternity and paternity leave, more access to adoption services, a reformed foster care system, more funding for schools and for after-school programs, greater support for survivors of rape and domestic abuse, improved sex education, and more overall support for women, parents, children, and families. . .”
Chloe Kilano, SFLA High School State Captain –
- “This is horrific. This isn’t about granting women privacy, Representative Pagan. This is about lining the pockets of politicians with the blood of the innocent and the vulnerability of women. It breaks my heart to watch my home state take a step against women and their children. We should be enforcing legislation that provides women with options that empower, not those that exploit—this legislation exploits.”
Michigan Can Do Better
These responses are but a few that demonstrate the commitment that Michigan’s youth have to the defense of preborn human life, and the dignity of women who find themselves without support in unplanned pregnancies. These students demand rights for the preborn and an allocation of state funding to life affirming options. Here in Michigan, we are passionate members of the Pro-Life Generation, and we are committed to letting our legislators and our governor know how badly they missed the mark when it comes to representing their constituents.
I am incredibly proud of these students, and their courage and compassion. It is an honor to work with them, and I consider this legislation my wake-up call, to work even harder for the expansion of the pro-life movement in my state and the elimination of abortion in our country. To all of the pro-life people in America who also think their state is “safe” from extremist abortion laws, consider this your motivation to continue a full court press towards the elimination of abortion in your state, and in the country.
Author: Brenna Lewis