Even as much of the national political scene faces hurdles to action because of the wide gap between the major political parties represented in power, state officials are getting stuff done. Elections matter!
After winning across the ballot in last year’s midterm elections in Michigan, Democrats in power in the state, who lead both chambers of the legislature and hold the governorship, have formally undone a roughly century-old abortion ban that remained on the rhetorical books but had gone inactive after Roe v. Wade in 1973. The Supreme Court’s decision to undo their conclusions in that case restored the possibility of further restrictions on abortion at the state level, although Democrats like Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and that state’s legislative leaders, besides similarly minded officials in other states, have also taken the opportunity to proactively impose protections for accessing healthcare. Whitmer signed a repeal of the old abortion ban Wednesday. Michigan residents also approved an amendment to their state Constitution last year that protects abortion.
Residents in California and Vermont did the same, and New Yorkers will have the chance to vote on a similar initiative next year. Adding the protections to these locales’ guiding documents makes it that much more difficult to move the other direction. In Michigan, the antiquated abortion ban, which covered pregnancy in general and had only exceptions for certain health complications, had already been blocked in court. Even allowances for abortions in cases of dangers to the pregnant person’s health aren’t foolproof, because there can still be threats of lasting health impacts to affected individuals while their medical teams deal with whether providing an abortion is allowed or will leave them facing serious criminal prosecution. A court case was filed in Texas from individuals who’ve faced such threats to their health during pregnancy and wanted judicial clarification on the permissions provided.
“This is a long overdue step, and it proves that when we keep fighting to protect everyone’s ability to make their own decisions about their bodies, we can win,” Whitmer said, according to the news outlet known as The 19th. In last year’s elections, Democrats in Michigan took unified control of the state’s legislature, besides holding the governor’s post. In Wisconsin this week, there was also success seen for the Democratic side that could specifically apply here, with the victory of Democratically aligned candidate Janet Protasiewicz giving liberals a majority on the state’s highest court, which could now decide on issues like access to reproductive healthcare, alongside redistricting and elections. Abortion is generally restricted in Wisconsin following the re-establishment of another very old abortion ban.