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From our State Capitol in Lansing to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, WKAR is committed to explaining how the actions of lawmakers are affecting Michiganders. Political and government reporter Abigail Censky leads this section. There are also stories from Capitol correspondents Cheyna Roth, Rick Pluta and the Associated Press. As the 2020 presidential race begins, look here for reports on the role Michigan will play in electing or re-electing the president.

House Democrats Push For Michigan Reproductive Health Act

Cheyna Roth

Democratic state lawmakers say all people need to be able to make independent decisions about their reproductive health. House Democrats announced their plan for a so-called Michigan Reproductive Health Act Tuesday.

The package would, among other things, repeal abortion waiting periods, restrictions on telemedicine for abortions, and any regulations of abortion facilities that are not deemed medically necessary.

“Abortion is healthcare, but right now I’m required to abide by numerous restrictions that do nothing to improve the health of my patients,” said Doctor Sarah Wallett, Chief Medical Officer for Planned Parenthood of Michigan. Wallett said that she wants to be able to treat abortion like any other healthcare. 

Republicans have introduced bills that would restrict abortion access in the state. Including a bill to ban abortions, in some cases, as early as six weeks.  Governor Gretchen Whitmer has promised to veto the bills. 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and House Democrats realize the bills will be difficult to move with a Republican-led Legislature, but Whitmer said they still have to try.

“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. 

The bills would also get rid of the 1931 law that completely bans all abortions. Roe v Wade has made the law largely unenforceable, but if it’s overturned, all abortions would be banned in Michigan. 

Amber McCann, a spokeswoman for Republican leader, Senator Mike Shirkey, said the bills won’t get far.

“It’s nothing that the majority leader was consulted upon before introduction and I don’t believe he’ll have much interest in discussing it once it is introduced,” she said.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County.
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