THE JEWISH NEWS
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SERVING DETROIT'S JEWISH COMMUNITY
Local Groups Rally
On Abortion Ruling
Angered by last week's U.S.
Supreme Court decision limiting a
woman's right to choose abortion,
many Jewish groups and community
leaders are mustering forces to fight
what they expect will be the most
emotional issue of the decade.
"I don't know where these people
come from who legislate morality,"
said Barbara Grant, president of the
Greater Detroit National Council of
Jewish Women, which serves in part
as a lobbying group to the state
legislature. "We are stripping away
people's rights to make choices. We
don't have the right to make moral
decisions for other people."
Grant is one of several Jewish ac-
tivists who plan to battle hard for
abortion rights in the aftermath of
the Webster vs. Reproductive Health
Services decision, in which the na-
tion's highest court gave states the
power to regulate abortion. She said
the local NCJW chapter will dovetail
any nationally formed pro-choice cam-
paigns and will work with other
Michigan groups to unify the
"This is going to get worse before
it gets better," said Rep. David Gubow,
D-Huntington Woods. "The govern-
ment is getting involved in the right
to privacy and it has no right to do
All but one legislative member of
the state's Jewish delegation agreed
with Gubow, saying they will try to
uphold abortion rights in Michigan.
Rep. Dave Honigman, R-West Bloom-
field, said he is "personally offended
by abortion" and would support
legislation to restrict abortions in
Honigman said residents should
expect a rash of legislation balancing
the rights of a mother with the rights
of the unborn. Rep. Jack Welborn, R-
Kalamazoo, is expected to introduce
bills similar to the Missouri law that
calls for an end to abortions in public
hospitals and nullifies a minor's right
to an abortion without parental
"It's too bad this is in the hands
of the state," said Sen. Jack Faxon, D-
Farmington Hills. "It will create a lot
is just an
of chaos. I don't support further
Rep. Maxine Berman, D-
Southfield, said abortion is going to
be the most volatile issue in the state
legislature next session. A member of
the Michigan Women's Campaign
Fund, an organization created to elect
progressive women to public office,
Berman said the campaign fund will
continue to work to insure that the
state's interest in women "supercedes
its interest in the fetus."
"We've got to be pro-active instead
of re-active," Berman said."
Added Rep. Burton Leland, D-
Detroit, "This is one more nail in the
coffin. If the Supreme Court con-
tinues at this pace, Roe vs. Wade will
be a moot issue. It is a step backward.
"There will be many attempts to
make it more difficult to have an
abortion in this state," Leland said.
"We are going to spend a lot of time
on this issue. I will vote against any
such legislation. But unfortunately, I
think I will be in the minority. Many
of my colleagues feel the Missouri law
is acceptable language."
Pro-choice groups lost a long-time
battle last year when voters over-
whelmingly approved cutting off
Medicaid funds for abortions. Gov.
James Blanchard and former Gov.
William Milliken vetoed such legisla-
tion 17 times before pro-life groups
JULY 14, 1989 / 11 TAMMUZ 5749
gathered enough petition signatures
for a referendum.
Michigan pro-choicers said they
were lame and disorganized in
previous efforts to fight the pro-life
campaign. Planned Parenthood board
member Carol King said the cam-
paign lacked intimate involvement of
heavyweights with political expertise.
Now, King said, people are scared
and more willing to work. In addition,
more noted community leaders, in-
cluding some Jewish volunteers, are
ready to fight for choice.
"Traditionally we do have Jewish
support," King said. "We expect more.
This has really scared people."
Continued on Page 22