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Opinion | Trump victory would endanger Michigan abortion freedoms

Pregnancy and parenthood are life-altering events. All around Michigan and across the country, countless people have to make difficult – sometimes heartbreaking – decisions about pregnancy every single day. These decisions should be left in the hands of patients and medical professionals because, as we are unfortunately witnessing, having the freedom to choose your own reproductive future can be the difference between life and death.

Michigan Speaker Pro Tempore Laurie Pohutsky headshot
Michigan Speaker Pro Tempore Laurie Pohutsky is a Democrat serving her third term representing the 17th House District, which includes part of Livonia.

For so many people across the country, that right has been taken away because politicians are making abortion a political matter rather than a medical one.

In the 51 years since the Supreme Court affirmed the right to abortion in Roe v. Wade, Republican politicians and special interest groups have ignored the expertise of medical professionals and launched countless assaults on bodily autonomy. In 2016, the anti-abortion movement finally found their champion in Donald Trump – and in 2022, he helped them achieve their ultimate goal: to turn back the clock and overturn Roe

Thanks to Trump, states across the country have wasted no time in passing draconian abortion bans. In some states, Republicans passed bills that ban abortion before many people even know they’re pregnant and criminalize medical professionals for simply doing their jobs. Health care providers have been left in a state of confusion, torn between a sense of duty to provide the care their patients need and the fear of being penalized. 

The results have been nothing short of deadly. In some cases, patients have been forced to go without the life-saving abortion care they need or flee their home states to access it.

In 2022, Michiganders overwhelmingly voted to codify the right to reproductive freedom, including abortion, in our state’s constitution with Proposal 3, making us the first state to do so after the fall of Roe. Then at the beginning of 2023, legislative Democrats took action to repeal one of the nation’s most extreme abortion bans. Later in the year, we passed the Reproductive Health Act to expand abortion access and come one step closer to making the promise of Proposal 3 a reality.

Other states, including Ohio, are following the blueprint Michigan created and passing similar measures to enshrine the right to abortion in their state constitutions. In Florida, support for a similar ballot initiative is quickly picking up momentum. 

 These victories make one thing crystal clear – voters are not leaving their health care up for debate.

Despite the hailstorm of political consequences MAGA Republicans have unleashed on themselves, Trump and MAGA Republicans are once again doubling down on their anti-abortion extremism and vowing to ban abortion nationwide if given the opportunity. Even in Michigan, the extreme agenda Trump and his allies are pushing could still strip away abortion access for millions of people. 

On top of working to ban abortion procedures, Trump and MAGA Republicans have set their sights on ripping away access to medication abortion, which accounts for over half of abortions in the United States. If Trump’s Supreme Court majority decides to strip away access to the medication this year, it would jeopardize safe and effective abortions for people in all 50 states, including Michigan.

 We cannot let that happen.

 Michigan Democrats will continue speaking out to ensure that every Michigander can access the care they need, but we cannot do it alone. That’s why it’s more important than ever that we have leaders at every level of government who will fight to protect our freedoms.

 President Biden and Vice President Harris are the only candidates in the 2024 presidential race who will protect the right to abortion. President Biden has called on Congress to codify the protections of Roe into federal law and restore the rights people relied on for nearly 50 years, and his administration has taken clear action to safeguard reproductive freedom in the face of Republican attacks. The only way to keep Michiganders’ reproductive freedoms protected from Trump’s attacks is to send the Biden-Harris ticket back to the White House.

Politicians have no place in our private decisions, and just like we did in 2022, Michiganders will be ready to reject Trump’s extreme abortion bans at the ballot box in November. 

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