A woman and a mission: saving abortion in the battleground state of Michigan

 "All roads to reproductive freedom lead through Michigan"affirms a well-known activist in that key state in the US mid-term elections next Tuesday, where the governor, the Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, has endorsed the defense of abortion with a strategy that, if successful, can inspire other parts of the country.

If there’s one thing the talk of Michigan these days is reproductive rights, at a time when polls show inflation is the No. outrage unleashed last June by the Supreme Court ruling that annulled federal protection for abortion.

In fact, the emphasis on talking about abortion is being uneven on the part of the progressive candidates in the different states, although in Michigan it is marking the race for the governor’s position, where Whitmer is running for re-election against the Republican Tudor Dixon, supported by former President Donald Trump.

In parallel, Michigan will vote on Tuesday on an initiative, Proposition 3, to include the right to abortion in the state Constitution in such a way that it would be armored against future conservative attempts to eliminate it.

All this to avoid that in this state, where abortion is legal today, a law from 1931 comes into force that would completely prohibit it, except in the event that the life of the mother is in danger.

To questions from a journalist about why this emphasis on abortion is not being seen in other states, Whitmer responds that Michigan has been in favor of a woman’s right to decide for 49 years, but now it is at risk of being reversed by a 91-year-old law that can make it a crime.

"I mean this is so extreme"thinks during an electoral act in a park of Lansing, the capital of Michigan.

It is the last weekend before the elections. Whitmer and Planned Parenthood, the largest network of sexual and reproductive health clinics in the US, have joined forces to give their cause one last push.

"Gretchen Whitmer has been such an incredible advocate for abortion rights since Roe v. Wade was overturned. There was a 1931 law on paper, the governor sued to stop that ban from going into effect, and she has done everything she can"explained in statements to EFE the president of Planned Parenthood, Alexis McGill Johnson.

It is women who are leading the defense of that right in the US since the Supreme Court annulled last June the 1973 ruling in the Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion in the country and in Michigan this female leadership is evident .

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The day begins in Lansing, where the governor, along with other Democratic politicians and activists like Johnson, goes to see volunteers who go door-to-door around the city to promote voting.

The day is rainy and the volunteers take refuge in the only roofed space in the park, where the event is finally held.

Abortion, reproductive rights, the right to decide… It is the mantra of the speakers at this event.

Cheered by her own, Whitmer begins her speech with a joke in reference to what Trump calls her: "That woman from Michigan".

During the pandemic, the governor became one of the now former president’s favorite targets for the measures she took to prevent the spread of covid, and even ended up being the target of a plan by a far-right group to kidnap and assassinate her, which authorities ended up dismantling, with several detainees.

From Lansing, the electoral procession goes to Grand Rapids and from there to the big event of the day at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, in Detroit, where, before a crowd of supporters, Whitmer mentions those threats and says that when people ask him why does it continue, she replies that these are hard times "for tough people" and what’s next because "cares" what’s going on in your state.

The rally in Detroit exudes a sense of transcendence, of going beyond this state. "Let us be heard in Washington DC"says Johnson for his part in his speech at this meeting.

In statements to EFE, Mini Timmaraju, president of the Naral organization, which defends the right to abortion, indicates that due to its composition, complexity and its leaders, what is decided on Tuesday in Michigan will have an impact in other parts of the United States. USA

"If you are really aggressive, as well as authentic, and deliver with the citizens on fundamental issues like democracy, reproductive freedom, the economy… that is how you are going to win and fight for freedom against the extremists who are trying to destroy the country"alert.

In this sense, he uses the example of Whitmer to illustrate that "all roads to reproductive freedom lead through michigan"since if there is a victory for Proposition 3 and for the candidates who defend the right to abortion, "it will be a pattern" for the Democrats in the strategy of recovering this lost right in other parts of the country, under Republican control.

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