GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The political reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade was rapid and quickly laid bare the passion that has surrounded this issue for decades.
While abortion has not been a central campaign issue in recent years, it has never been far from the surface.
Michigan’s junior U.S. senator, Democrat Gary Peters of Bloomfield Township, accurately pointed out that is because for nearly 50 years, many believed it was a settled question.
“This is a major decision that will certainly change the lives of people all across the country and it is a decision that is clearly counter to opinion held by the vast majority of Americans, as well,” Peters said. “This is going to have certainly repercussions for years to come. It certainly shows now that elections, when it comes to reproductive freedom, are more important than ever. In the past, folks knew that this was a constitutional right that was protected, that women had freedom to make very personal decisions about their life and their bodies. Now, those are not protected by the Constitution.”
U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, said those opposed to abortion have been steadfast in seeing Roe overturned.
“People in the case of the pro-life movement have been praying for this for this day, have been out talking about the importance of protecting human life,” he said. “So it’s a day to be celebrated, but in many respects, the work begins in terms of shaping public opinion, making a case why government does have a legitimate role in protecting our rights and chief among them is right to life; those are God-given rights.”
Reaction poured in from dozens of lawmakers and elected officials around the state, reflecting the passion those on both sides of the issue feel. It remains to be seen what kind of affect the ruling could have on the upcoming midterm elections.
“Today is a sad day for America as an unelected group of conservative judges act squarely against the will of the people and medical expertise. We can all sense the despair that tens of millions of Americans—our neighbors, family members and friends—are feeling right now. However we personally feel about abortion, health—not politics—should drive important medical decisions.
“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. 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. I am deeply disappointed that Michigan’s Republican legislative leaders have been in court defending this draconian ban, to the detriment of women and families. Some legislators have gone a step further, proposing a 10-year prison sentence for abortion providers and a 20-year sentence for anyone manufacturing, selling or distributing birth control medication.
“I want every Michigander to know that I am more determined than ever to protect access to safe, legal abortion. Now is the time to use every tool in our toolbox to protect women and reproductive health care. That is why I filed a lawsuit in April and used my executive authority to urge the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately resolve whether Michigan’s state constitution protects the right to abortion. We need to clarify that under Michigan law, access to abortion is not only legal, but constitutionally protected. In addition, my recent executive directive instructs all state departments and agencies not to cooperate with authorities from other states who want to prosecute women seeking legal abortion care and instructs departments to increase protections for reproductive healthcare.
“I will fight like hell to protect every Michiganders’ right to make decisions about their own body with the advice of a medical professional they trust. I will not give in or give up for my kids, your kids, and the future of our great state.”Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
“Today is a tragic day for Americans and Michiganders. Against medical expertise and the overwhelming majority of Americans who support this constitutional right, a group of conservative judges we did not elect have stripped access to reproductive healthcare from tens of millions of Americans. We can all sense the hopelessness and despair that our neighbors, family, and friends are feeling right now.
“Governor Gretchen Whitmer and I are more determined than ever to protect access to safe, legal abortion. However we personally feel about abortion, health, not politics, should drive major medical decisions. Governor Whitmer and I are committed to ensuring this constitutional right is protected here in Michigan. We will strive to build a state where everyone’s reproductive rights are respected and affirmed. We will never stop fighting for our kids, your kids, and our state’s future.”Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist
“The overturning of Roe is not just the loss of a right; it is the erosion of our status as equal citizens under the law. As a nation, we trust in our highest court to hold sacred their duty, free from political whim. Today’s decision sets a dangerous precedent in reversing 50 years’ of settled law; creating extraordinary upheaval in the American legal system; and putting at risk other individual rights that generations of Americans fought to secure and preserve.
“Now we must do what our courts have failed to do: we must act to ensure that women are not permanently relegated to second-class citizens in this country. I will continue to fight for a women’s right to choose with the full weight of my office. Michigan residents must continue to fight for reproductive rights at the ballot box in November.”Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel
“Today’s decision is a devastating blow to freedom in America. It does not align with the will of the people. It was not achieved through democratic means, and it does not reflect who we are as Americans.
“The fight for a country that reflects, respects, and protects the voice of all Americans will continue. And I will continue to fight to ensure our elections enable every voice to be heard, every vote to be counted, and the will of the people to prevail.”Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson
“Decisions about whether to end or continue a pregnancy should be made by a woman with the counsel of her family, her faith and her doctor – not politics. As a physician, I know that the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn nearly half a century of precedent protecting safe, legal abortion violates the trusted relationship between a patient and their doctor. This ruling completely supersedes and overrides a woman’s ability to dictate her health care in consultation with her physician. And it clears a path for draconian laws like Michigan’s 1931 criminal abortion ban to take full effect.
“I am concerned about how this decision will negatively impact health outcomes for women and children, particularly women and children of color as they have greater disparities in health outcomes in general. A woman may choose to have an abortion for a wide variety of reasons – none of them are anyone’s business but hers. If women and doctors are under threat of prosecution and jail time due to Michigan’s abortion ban, women will have a more difficult time accessing critical health care. And with abortion not legally available, women are more likely to undergo unregulated procedures that can jeopardize their future reproductive health and in some cases be life threatening.
“SCOTUS’s ruling and Michigan’s abortion ban will not only punish women seeking abortion care, but it will also punish and criminalize health care providers who have dedicated their lives to providing the best care for their patients. It casts a dark shadow over the medical community – and doctors will now be forced to choose whether to honor our oath to our patients, to our communities and to our profession, or uphold a law that is unjust and discriminatory and does not reflect the wishes of the majority of Michigan residents.”Michigan Chief Medical Executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian
“In 1973, Roe v. Wade gave American women the fundamental freedom to make our own reproductive health care decisions. Now, 50 years later, the Supreme Court has ripped away this basic right.
“The fundamental question is ‘who gets to make health care decisions for a woman?’ The woman herself, based on her own faith, with her family and her doctor, or a bunch of judges and politicians?
“This Supreme Court decision will literally put women’s lives at risk. Twenty-six states are poised to move quickly to ban abortion—including 13 states with laws that can go into effect right now.
“It is hard to look past the anger that I and so many women across the country feel right now. From the President to the Congress to our local State Legislatures, elections matter now more than ever.”U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan
“For nearly 50 years, women and families have been able to count on safe and legal abortion as a vital and fundamental health care right in this country. And today – the Supreme Court is taking that right away.
“This decision will have immediate, catastrophic consequences for women and families. Women who are victims of rape or incest will not be able to seek an abortion in many parts of the country. Women who have health complications during their pregnancies may not be able to receive emergency care that could save their lives.
“When I shared my family’s story on abortion, I remember the strong outpouring of support I received from women – and men – who had similar experiences as my own: people who so dearly wanted a child – but suffered medical complications – and needed an abortion to save the life of the mother. The mental anguish you go through during such a vulnerable time is unimaginable, and stays with you. My heart breaks for them and everyone going through these tragic, real-life experiences that happen each and every day.
“Today, the Supreme Court has opened the door wide open for politics to interfere in private health care decisions between women and families and their doctors – and worse yet, may open the door to making abortion outright illegal without exceptions for rape, incest or life of the woman. I am gravely worried about the precedent this ruling sets.
“I will always stand up to prevent these cruel attacks.”U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan
“Today’s Supreme Court decision marks the beginning of a proud new chapter in our history. Our nation’s laws & policies should reflect a commitment to the sanctity of life at every stage, and this ruling is a tremendous step toward upholding this critical moral responsibility.
“This decision protects our Constitution by returning power back to the states, the American people, and the lawmakers chosen to represent them. I am proudly pro-life, and I applaud today’s Supreme Court decision that will undoubtedly save unborn lives.”U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids
“Our great Declaration of Independence proclaims that all people are endowed by their Creator with the right to Life. That’s why today’s pro-life decision is a monumental step forward in protecting the lives of innocent babies and women.
“The Supreme Court found that there is no right to abortion in the Constitution, thereby striking down Roe v. Wade and relegating the issue to the States. This means that the fight to protect the lives of innocent babies and women will continue at the State level, as well as at the Federal level in new ways.
“We must have strength for the journey ahead. Just last month, left-wing extremists leaked a draft opinion on the case in order to threaten and intimidate the Supreme Court justices. These radicals went so far as to show up at the home of Justice Kavanaugh, fully armed and intending to do harm.
“Thankfully, their plot failed, and God’s plans won. But we must remain vigilant and never back down. Let us pray against any mob violence perpetrated by the radical pro-abortion left in the upcoming days and weeks, and let us work with the relevant authorities to ensure that our places of faith and the many great pro-life pregnancy resource centers are protected.
“Thank you to President Trump for appointing three justices who ruled objectively based on the Constitution. And most importantly, let us take time today to give thanks to God for answering the prayers of millions, that innocent babies be protected.”John Gibbs, candidate for Michigan 3rd Congressional District
“Today’s decision has been one common sense, pro-life Americans have been waiting for. This ruling confirms there is no constitutional right to end the life of an innocent, unborn child.
“The decision correctly restores power usurped by the courts to the states and the representatives elected by the people. While today’s announcement is historic, the pro-life movement cannot waiver in protecting these innocent lives.
“I will continue to stand up for the unborn in the days ahead and stand against those who seek to enshrine policies that embrace abortion on demand.”U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland
“The decision of when or if to have kids is not an easy one, especially with so much going on in the world culturally, politically, and economically. It is appalling that the highest Court in the land — whose opinion on this matter doesn’t reflect most of this nation, no less — has decided to strip this constitutional right from the American people. Such a decision has, and should continue to be, made by the pregnant individual, their health care provider, and those they love — without interference by a government institution.
“This opinion is a call to action. We have seen nationally how far those who oppose the freedom to decide will go, and we cannot let up in Michigan. I am committed to joining other elected officials who understand and appreciate the need for access to safe, legal abortions and will do whatever I can to protect the freedoms people deserve.”State Sen. Sean McCann, D-Kalamazoo
“I am without words. My wife, my daughters, my granddaughters are now officially second class citizens, according to the Supreme Court. This is a devastating blow to women’s fundamental freedom to make their own health care decisions. As a man, a husband, father and grandfather who has always had a right to make my own health care decisions, I vow to fight this reprehensible decision and stand beside women in their critical fight for justice. In Lansing, I will continue to work toward laws than benefit everyone and not restrict basic human rights.”State Rep. Terry Sabo, D-Muskegon
“The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe ignores 50 years of women’s right to bodily autonomy. Further, women are not even included in the Constitution, it is absurd to base a decision, especially one of this magnitude, on the fact that a medical procedure was not specifically included in the Constitution. The Supreme Court is essentially stating that women have no right to decide what happens in their own bodies, which should be a basic human right. I am one of thousands and thousands of women who had to make this choice, and my decision to have an abortion saved my life; that choice is now gone. Access to reproductive health is a basic human right, and I will not stop fighting until this human right is again secured for all citizens.”State Rep. Christine Morse, D-Texas Township
“This Supreme Court decision is great news for life. 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. We must continue encouraging and supporting mothers in uncertain, even desperate, situations. We must pray for courage to do what is right in defense of life, wisdom to persuade, compassion to help, and strength to persevere.
“Michigan provides solid protections for preborn babies, and my colleagues and I will defend our pro-life policies from baseless legal challenges. Abortion is illegal under Michigan law. As the Supreme Court ruled, there is clearly no right to abortion in the U.S. Constitution. State judges should follow the Supreme Court justices’ lead and follow the Michigan Constitution as written.”State Rep. John Damoose, R-Harbor Springs
“This is a tragic and frightening day in the United States. Today marks one of the first times in decades that we have rolled back people’s freedom in the United States, rather than expanding our rights to live freely. Bodily autonomy is a human right. I am committed to leading among the diverse team of committed citizens across this country and the world, who will be mobilized like never before in history, to reverse this decision. I won’t back down until my daughters can be assured their bodies are their own.”State Rep. Rachel Hood, D-Grand Rapids