By Dave Andrusko
When a Democrat announces she opposes any limitation whatsoever on abortion, it sends a shockwave through the party and their innumerable allies in the media.
On Wednesday, Representative Karen Whitsett (D-Detroit), vice chair of the House Health Policy Committee, announced, just prior to Wednesday’s committee meeting, that she planned to “vote against several key elements of a package of bills repealing regulations on abortion, endangering a key priority Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer outlined in a recent address,” according to Beth LeBlanc of The Detroit News.
Whitsett said “she will not support legislation that allows for Medicaid funding of abortions nor will she support repeals of Michigan’s 24-hour waiting period and current regulations treating some abortion clinics as surgical outpatient facilities,” LeBlanc wrote. “Any bills tied to those regulations also will get a no-vote, Whitsett said.”
“I will not vote and fund Medicaid abortions, that’s not gonna happen,” Whitsett added. “I do not think it is too much to ask when someone’s terminating a life, a 24-hour pause to be able to say for sure this is the decision you want to make. 24 hours is not too much.”
LeBlanc noted that “Whitsett added the current regulations for abortion clinics labeled as surgical facilities are reasonable and she worried Medicaid funding for abortions would divert funding from low-income seniors, who are at times a prescription away from serious health problems.”
Her announcement preceeded a vote in the House Health Policy Committee to move six of 11 bills contained in the Reproductive Health Act from committee. “Whitsett was the lone Democratic no-vote on them; on a sixth, Rep. Alabas Farhat passed on the vote,” LeBlanc wrote.
“The proposed legislation would put into state law the constitutional language enshrining abortion access that was approved by voters in November and repealing several regulations they say are in conflict with that access,” the Detroit News reported. “Supporters have said the legislation repeals rules meant only to impede access to abortion; opponents have said the regulations up for repeal ensure the health of the pregnant woman.”
Whitsett’s opposition “presents an obstacle for the legislation in the Michigan House,” Jonathan Oosting and Robin Erb reported. “Democrats hold a two-seat advantage and need every one of their 56 votes to pass bills without Republican support.”