Gov. Whitmer slams Texas abortion ban, warns it could happen in Michigan if ‘Roe’ is overturned


Governor Gretchen Whitmer. - STATE OF MICHIGAN
  • State of Michigan
  • Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block Texas's new law that bans abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — a period before many women even realize that they're pregnant.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a statement on Thursday denouncing what might very well be the most restrictive abortion law in the country.

"Texas's new, extreme anti-choice law hurts women and threatens healthcare workers," she said in a statement. "It is a gross infringement on reproductive rights and freedoms, and the Supreme Court’s decision to allow it to stay in place functionally overturns Roe v. Wade. The insidious law essentially bans abortions, even in cases of rape or incest, and allows strangers to sue medical professionals or anyone who helps women get the healthcare they need. The impacts of this decision are potentially catastrophic for the right to choose."

Whitmer also vowed to fight similar laws in Michigan, but warned that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, it would also allow the state's previous abortion ban to go back into effect.

“In Michigan today, abortion is safe and legal, but we have an arcane law on the books from the 1930s banning abortion and criminalizing healthcare providers who offer essential reproductive services," she said. "Thankfully, that law is superseded by Roe v. Wade, which affirms the constitutional right to reproductive choice. But, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, a ban on abortion will go back into effect in dozens of states, including Michigan."

She added, "I have always stood with those fighting for their right to choose, and I will not stop now. I will stand in the way of any bills that seek to strip away fundamental rights from women or get in the way of doctors’ ability to do their jobs."

As a lawmaker, Whitmer has been a vocal supporter of a woman's right to choose to get an abortion. While a state Senator in 2013, speaking against a controversial "rape insurance" measure that required women to purchase a separate insurance rider to cover abortions, even in instances of rape or incest, Whitmer revealed that she had been sexually assaulted as a freshman at Michigan State University.

"I'm about to tell you something I've not shared with many people in my life. But over 20 years ago I was a victim of rape," she said. "And thank god it didn't result in a pregnancy. Because I can't imagine going through what I went through and then having to consider what to do about an unwanted pregnancy from an attacker."

In 2019, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she believed the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually overturn Roe v. Wade, but promised she would not enforce Michigan's abortion ban if it did.

"It is, I think, at this point likely that we will see Roe v. Wade overturned by the United States Supreme Court," Nessel told an audience at a Planned Parenthood summit, according to Michigan Advance, adding, "I will never prosecute a woman or her doctor for making the difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy."

Michigan's abortion law carries a charge of felony manslaughter for abortions when the mother's life is not at risk.

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