Mich. lawmaker earns backlash for comparing abortion to slavery

A Michigan GOP lawmaker came under fire from Democratic colleagues for comparing abortion to slavery in a new interview. 

Michigan State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said in an interview last week with Hillsdale College’s radio station that abortion is comparable to “the scourge we endured when we still had slavery in this country.” He was asked by Radio Free Hillsdale host Scot Bertram about abortion laws in Illinois, New York and other “blue” states in the U.S. 

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“I believe the rampant acceptance of unfiltered and unregulated abortion, or frankly allowing abortions to occur at all, is the scourge of our country now today," he said. "In my mind, it’s comparable — and people are going to be very upset when I say this — but it is comparable to the scourge we endured when we still had slavery in this country. It is no less a scourge today than slavery was then."

He said bills like the abortion legislation Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and several Democratic lawmakers have proposed would “reverse all the protections for life that we instilled in our statutes in Michigan.” 

The interview was uploaded to the lawmaker’s YouTube channel. 

Democratic state Sen. Erika Geiss, who is black, slammed Shirkey’s comments as “incredibly insensitive,” saying that it’s wrong to compare anything to the “atrocities of slavery” and its impact on black communities, The Associated Press reported.

Shirkey’s spokeswoman said the state lawmaker believes the issue of abortion could be as divisive in the U.S. as slavery was. She clarified that Shirkey was referring to the debate surrounding the issue in his comments, not the medical procedure itself, the AP reported.

Michigan Planned Parenthood advocates called the lawmaker's comments "disgusting." 

The Hill has reached out to Shirkey’s office for comment.