Editorial: Michigan voters can show the country how to protect abortion rights
The Michigan abortion law that became law earlier this week would have severely restricted abortion in the state and caused untold suffering for women in its wake.
The new law is particularly offensive because it is a product of the same conservative party in Lansing that supported Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide.
Unfortunately, the Michigan legislature went a step further to punish the very women who are supposed to protect their reproductive rights. The new law specifically criminalizes late-term abortions, making them potentially punishable by up to three years in prison. It strips doctors and other medical personnel who perform abortions of any medical license in Michigan, requiring that they report to the state and submit to criminal background checks before being allowed to provide abortions.
Michigan is no stranger to anti-abortion legislation. This year, it passed a state budget that included a provision that stripped women of their federal Medicaid coverage for abortion providers. If this legislation had been passed this summer, it would have prevented some of the most vulnerable women in the state from accessing emergency contraception and other necessary prevention measures.
Michigan’s new law does not affect the lives directly of women. Their lives can still be saved.
Instead, it affects the lives of men. Men who purchase sex without a condom or who have sex with multiple casual partners can be prosecuted under Michigan’s new law.
Even more alarming, this bill could result in men who claim that they were assaulted or raped being prosecuted for their sexual behaviors. If the bill stands, it will affect any person who has sex without a condom without also having to worry about prosecution for non-consensual sex.
This legislation is indefensible because it puts Michigan voters and women in Michigan between a rock and a hard place.
On the one hand, the state should be promoting a healthy and equitable society, which requires the acceptance and support of equal rights for all. On the other hand, it has the right to protect some of its citizens from unwanted pregnancies by criminalizing abortions.
We have to accept that we simply cannot afford the safety and wellbeing of women and the protection of their rights as they seek to exercise their reproductive rights. When abortion is criminalized, women are thrown into the deep, dark waters that we have just learned to combat in states like Arizona, Georgia, and Alabama. Women who