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November 05, 2019 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and
other lawmakers in the Michigan
House
Democratic
Caucus
introduced
the
Reproductive
Health Care Act, a plan to revoke
existing laws which restrict or bar
access to abortion, last Tuesday.
Abortion
is
currently
legal
through the first 24 weeks of
pregnancy in the state of Michigan,
though there are a number of
restrictions regarding access to
abortion that the RHA aims to
dissolve. Among the legislation
these lawmakers hope to repeal is
a 1931 Michigan law prohibiting
abortion. Since the 1973 Supreme
Court decision in Roe v. Wade
became law, which recognizes the
right to abortion as a constitutional
right, federal law has trumped this
state law. However, if Roe v. Wade
were to be overturned, abortion
would again be banned statewide.
Other laws the RHA seeks to

repeal include those which require
a 24-hour waiting period after
requesting an abortion, parental
consent
for
minors
seeking
abortions and a ban on private
insurance
coverage
for
these
procedures. The act also aims to
get rid of barriers for state and
federal funding for reproductive
health care providers and access to
medical abortion via telemedicine,
which allows health care providers
to consult patients remotely.
The movement against abortion
is also active in Michigan, with two
anti-abortion petitions currently
circulating. The first, organized by
anti-abortion group Right to Life of
Michigan, seeks to ban the dilation
and evacuation procedure unless
the pregnant person’s life is at risk.
The procedure involves dilating
the cervix and removing the fetus
with forceps and can result in
dismemberment of the fetus. The
second petition, advocated by the
Michigan
Heartbeat
Coalition,

advocates
banning
abortions
after cardiac activity is detected,
which can be as early as five-weeks
gestation. Both petitions seek to
enact legislation previously vetoed
by Whitmer.
On Tuesday, Michigan Attorney
General Dana Nessel issued a
statement in support of the RHA
plan.
“Women’s reproductive rights
and access to quality health care are
under attack across the country,”
the statement reads. “Now, more
than ever, we must take concrete
steps to ensure the rights of all
women are protected under the
law.”
Some abortion rights activists
have expressed concern that the
bills outlined in the RHA, many of
which would require a two thirds
majority, are unlikely to pass in a
Republican controlled legislature.
Public Policy senior Brianna
Wells, co-president of the abortion
rights
student
organization
Students for Choice at the
University
of
Michigan,
supports the RHA but shared
concerns
regarding
its
longevity.
“I
think
it’s
really
important to have something
that will give people the right
to choose in the case that
Roe v. Wade is overturned,
which is probably likely given
the people on the Supreme
Court right now,” Wells said.
“I don’t know how good of a
chance the bill has of being
passed, and even if it were
to be passed, it just worries
me that the next time the
legislature is unfriendly to
something like this it could
just be gutted. So, while I
totally support the bill(s), I
think that eventually I would
like to see something more
permanent put into place, like
a constitutional amendment
to Michigan’s constitution or
something like that.”
In a press conference on
Tuesday, Whitmer addressed
this
concern,
alluding
to
allegations
of
illegal

gerrymandering, but maintained
that the plan was nonetheless
important.
“We are all acutely aware of how
gerrymandered this legislature is
and that it’s an uphill battle, but
it doesn’t mean you don’t fight it,”
Whitmer said.
Education
junior
Justin
Cadarette, a member of the anti-
abortion
student
organization
Students for Life, opposes any
change
to
the
current
laws
restricting access to abortion in
Michigan.
“All of those laws that are
currently in place are really good
for making sure if a woman does
really feels like she needs to have
an abortion … it makes sure she
has all the time possible and all the
information necessary to really
make a super informed decision
and very consciously deal with the
consequences if she does carry out
the abortion,” Cadarette said.
He highlighted parental consent
as one important requirement that
should not change.
“Especially
with
minors,
definitely their parents need to
know what’s going on with their
lives,” Cadarette said. “You need
to get parental consent to go to the
dentist, go to the doctor, even to get
ibuprofen from your high school.
So definitely parents should know
that their child wants to get a really
serious medical procedure done
that could have potentially bad
consequences.”
Wells, on the other hand, felt
repealing laws such as the 24-hour
waiting period sends an important
message about bodily autonomy.
“I think that, other than (the
waiting period) just being an
unnecessary barrier to people
trying to seek an abortion, I think
(repealing) it sends the message
that we trust individuals enough
to make decisions about their own
bodies,” Wells said. “We don’t have
to put this waiting period on it
because I think that assumes that if
you get people to think about it long
enough, they won’t want to have an
abortion anymore, and I think that’s
really condescending.”

2A— Tuesday, November 5, 2019
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
News

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Knight-Wallace Fellow Shai Gal introduces the film “The Jewish Underground” at a documentary screening in Weill Hall Monday.

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Michigan House Democratic Caucus

brings Reproductive Health Care Act

Lawmakers introduce bill to repeal laws restricting access to abortion

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