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Whitmer: ‘I’m a Pro-Choice Governor, and I’m Not Going to Sit on My Hands Waiting for Congress’

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Michigan).
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Michigan).(WLUC/State of Michigan)
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 3:30 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Governor Gretchen Whitmer wrote an op-ed published in the New York Times Monday in response to the draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

In her editorial, she explains why she isn’t waiting for Congress to act and urged fellow pro-choice governors, state representatives, private businesses, and citizens to do the same and take action today to protect access to abortions in their states.

Last month, the governor filed a lawsuit and used her executive authority to ask the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately resolve whether Michigan’s Constitution protects the right to abortion. In light of the recent news and amidst the ongoing, nationwide spotlight on abortion, Governor Whitmer’s fight to protect the constitutional right to an abortion is more critical than ever.

Key Points:

“Roe has been the law of the land for 49 years, nearly my entire lifetime. But it may not be the law of the land for my daughters. Many of us feared this day would come, which is why last month, I filed a lawsuit and, drawing on authority granted to me as governor, asked the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately resolve whether our state constitution includes the right to access abortion.”

[…]

“My argument is predicated on the due process and equal protection clauses in our state constitution. The due process clause of the Michigan Constitution protects the right to abortion in the same way that the United States Constitution does per Roe, and the equal protection clause prohibits the state from adopting laws based on paternalistic justifications and overbroad generalizations about the role of women in the workforce and at home. Other state constitutions, including the constitutions of Kansas, Montana, Alaska and Florida, have already been interpreted to protect the right to abortion.”

[…]

“Those in states where abortion is already protected at the state level, and where it will remain accessible if Roe falls, may feel protected. There is, however, a very real danger that in a few short years, with complete control of the federal levers of power, anti-choice, anti-women extremists could enact a federal abortion ban, which could abolish abortion nationally, regardless of state law. This is not theoretical — it is their endgame.”

[…]

“If we do not use every lever of power we have right now, or if we succumb to complacency, Americans will suffer and may die. Many will be out of sight, forgotten. Most will be poor. A sizable contingent will be women of color. We can all sense the hopelessness and despair that tens of millions of American women — our neighbors, family members and friends — are feeling. But despair is a choice, and pessimism is a luxury. We must take unprecedented steps to protect the right to choose.”

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