Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said it is “ridiculous” to consider abortion as an elective surgery during the coronavirus pandemic, saying the procedure is “fundamental” and “life sustaining.”
Appearing on a recent podcast interview with CNN correspondent David Axelrod as Michiganders descended onto the state capital to protest her restrictive stay-at-home orders, the Democrat governor was asked about her reactions to states that have suspend abortion services amid the outbreak.
“You know, we stopped elective surgeries here in Michigan, and some people have tried to say that that type of a procedure is considered the same, and that’s ridiculous,” Whitmer said. “You know a woman’s health care her whole future her ability to decide if and when she starts a family is is not any election, it is a fundamental to her life. It is life sustaining, and it’s something that government should not be getting in the middle of.”
The CNN guest asked if she thinks these anti abortion are using the pandemic as a “backdoor” to ban such procedure or its “a legitimate public policy decision to help stop the spread of the virus and preserve valuable medical equipments for frontline healthcare workers.
“My gut is it’s the former,” Whitmer responded. “You know I’m not I’m not in Texas, I don’t know all the individuals involved but I do think that there is a very concerted effort to use every opportunity to take away women’s ability to make our own healthcare decisions.”
The Michigan governor last week extended the state stay-at-home order through April 30, while adding drastic restrictions on some businesses that are currently open. The extended restriction executive order titled “Temporary Requirement to Suspend Activities That Are Not Necessary to Sustain or Protect Life,” restricts essential businesses from selling non-essential items such as carpets, flooring, furniture, garden centers, plants nurseries and paint. It also bans travel to second homes and vacation rentals within the state as well as ban elective surgeries in order to preserve scare medical equipment for front line healthcare workers except for pregnancy-related visits and procedures.
Right to Life Michigan urged Whitmer to clarify her executive order and declare elective abortion procedures as “non-essential,” citing a nationwide shortage of protective medical equipment and potential for the virus to spread.
Planned Parenthood of Michigan president Lori Carpentier criticized the anti-abortion group, saying Whitmer order is “explicit.”
“It was explicit in the order that pregnancy-related care is included,” Carpentier said. “You can rest assured we didn’t leave it up to our own interpretation.”
Some states have temporarily banned most forms of abortion as non-essential elective surgeries, in order to preserve personal protective equipment. Those states include Texas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Indiana and Iowa. The American Civil Liberties in coordination with the Planned Parenthood have filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court challenging the ban saying the health crisis doesn’t justify severe restrictions on the constitutional right to abortion.
Meanwhile, states like Massachusetts, Virginia, New Jersey, Minnesota, Indiana, New Jersey, Illinois, Oregon, Washington and New York have joined with Michigan in declaring abortion an essential procedure while banning elective medical procedure.