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Whitmer: I’m not going to wait for Congress to act on abortion

Associated Press

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) encouraged other governors and state officials across the country on Monday to take action on protecting abortion access amid the fallout over a leaked draft Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

“I am not going to sit on my hands waiting for Congress to do something,” Whitmer wrote in a New York Times op-ed.

“Whether through legislation, executive action, ballot initiative or civic engagement, the answer to the overtly political ruling of a supposedly apolitical, unelected body is to engage in every way and at every level,” she continued before citing actions taken by states to protect abortion rights in states like Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey, Colorado and California.

“If we do not use every lever of power we have right now, or if we succumb to complacency, Americans will suffer and may die,” the governor wrote.

The op-ed comes exactly a week after the high court’s draft decision was leaked, sending shockwaves throughout the nation. This week, Senate Democrats will force a vote to codify Roe v. Wade, but the effort is expected to fall short given the legislation needs 60 votes to advance, meaning support from at least 10 Republican senators.

Democrats have seized on the issue, warning if the Supreme Court votes to overturn Roe v. Wade, states with GOP governors and legislatures will move to restrict access to the procedure.

In Michigan, a 1931 law criminalizing abortion, except when the life of the mother is at risk, is still on the books. However, the 1973 landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade blocks the 1931 law and legalizes abortion in the state.

Last month, Whitmer called on the state’s Supreme Court make a decision on the constitutionality of abortion.

“If the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to protect the constitutional right to an abortion, the Michigan Supreme Court should step in,” Whitmer said last month. “We must trust women—our family, neighbors, and friends—to make decisions that are best for them about their bodies and lives.”

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