Thursday, August 18, 2022

Lansing area students, lawmakers, advocates react to Roe v. Wade overturn

June 24, 2022
"The reasons for abortion are as varied and unique as the people themselves - and they're all valid," Dr. Halley Crissman, OBGYN and member of Physicians for Reproductive health, said. Oct. 2, 2021.
"The reasons for abortion are as varied and unique as the people themselves - and they're all valid," Dr. Halley Crissman, OBGYN and member of Physicians for Reproductive health, said. Oct. 2, 2021. —

The Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that established a constitutional right to an abortion, has sparked both feelings of outrage and triumph amongst local residents.

Reactions from local students, lawmakers, anti-abortion and abortion-rights groups on Friday all contribute to the polarized nature of the issue of abortion rights.

“I'm f------ mad,” criminal justice senior Hannah Kindree said. “The fact that everything that is put in place to help people like me, the fact that it can go away at such an alarming speed really, genuinely terrifies me.”

Kindree expressed fear that the overturn of this ruling won't do anything to stop abortions, but rather make them unsafe.

“It's going to create more unsafe (abortions), and disproportionately affect communities of color,” Kindree said. “And so many different communities that can't necessarily afford to drive to another city to get an abortion, or people but they don't even know that they're pregnant because all of these trigger laws that are put in place are so restrictive that all it's going to do is just cause more harm and more death to people.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called today a “sad day in America,” following the overturn. 

“With today's decision, Michigan's antiquated 1931 law banning abortion without exceptions for rape or incest and criminalizing doctors and nurses who provide reproductive care takes effect,” Whitmer said in a statement. “For now, a Michigan court has put a temporary hold on the law, but that decision is not final and has already been challenged. The 1931 law would punish women and strip away their right to make decisions about their own bodies.”

Due to the temporary injunction that is in place, abortion is still legal in Michigan. However, this hold on the 1931 law is not permanent and abortion legality status in Michigan is subject to change. 

Creative advertising senior Kelly Branigan said she is “cautiously happy” about the injunction.

“I know there are so many good people who are going to be fighting for women's rights to bodily autonomy,” Branigan said. “I know that it may be overturned and we may be right back where we started.”

Whitmer said that she will “fight like hell” to protect the right of Michigan residents to “make decisions about their own body.”

“I will not give in or give up for my kids, your kids, and the future of our great state,” Whitmer said on the statement.

President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. sent an email statement to the MSU community, expressing MSU's dedication to “sustainable health for all.”

“In the face of a ruling that jeopardizes many people’s health, we will — within the boundaries of the law — continue to educate the next generation of clinicians and health professionals in reproductive health and also support access to equitable, high-quality, affordable and safe health care for all,” Stanley said in the email. “While much is uncertain in this moment, MSU will remain steadfast in its commitment to creating a healthier, more equitable, more inclusive future.”

State Representative John Damoose praised the Supreme Court’s decision in a statement this morning. 

“This Supreme Court decision is great news for life,” Damoose said. “The people in each state may better protect life, from conception onward. Now, the real work of the pro-life movement is just beginning. We must continue discussing with fellow citizens and elected officials the need to protect babies in the womb and end abortion. 

Damoose encouraged people to continue to defend life and support mothers that are in “desperate” situations. He also expressed displeasure towards the recent injunction. 

“Michigan provides solid protections for pre-born babies, and my colleagues and I will defend our pro-life policies from baseless legal challenges,” Damoose said. “State judges should follow the Supreme Court justices’ lead and follow the Michigan Constitution as written.”

Protect Life Michigan Spokeswoman Christen Pollo said that anti-abortion organizations have been waiting 50 years for the decision that came today. She warned of the efforts to keep abortion legal in Michigan.

“We are grateful to see the fall of Roe in the height of our efforts to stop the anything-goes abortion amendment,” Pollo said in an email statement. “We have been preparing to protect Michigan’s 1931 abortion law for this very moment.”

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Reproductive Freedom For All, or RFFA introduced a ballot initiative that would amend the Michigan Constitution to give residents the “fundamental right to reproductive freedom.” It aims to allow residents to make reproductive health decisions without any political interference.

Pollo said the organization will continue to educate residents on the “consequences” of the amendment being passed and why they should not vote for its approval.

“The anything-goes RFFA abortion amendment is working to add a right to abortion in our state constitution that would allow abortion for anyone, anytime, anywhere, and anyway,” Pollo said in the statement. “We will continue to educate until every corner of Michigan knows the dangers of the anything-goes abortion amendment.”

Though abortion rights have been rescinded at the Supreme Court level, tensions are still high in Michigan as the future of abortion rights remains uncertain. Local anti-abortion and abortion-rights groups are expected to hold a demonstration at the State Capitol on Friday afternoon.

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