Small group protests abortion restrictions at Capitol (Lansing State Journal)

Published August 15, 2012, by the Lansing State Journal.

Written by Scott Davis.

Lansing State Journal logo




Published: 08.15.12| Updated: 08.16.12

LANSING — Four decades ago, Ellen Wetzel picketed as part of the pro-choice movement as a University of Michigan student, and today, she picked up the banner once again.

Joining about 60 pro-choice protesters today at the Capitol, the 61-year-old Northville woman wanted the Republican lawmakers to know that passing new abortion restrictions would have an impact on their re-election bids.

“I see it as a 50-year step backwards,” she said of a House bill that would place several restrictions on abortions.

The Republican-controlled House passed the bill in June, and it now is pending before the Republican-controlled Senate. Among other things, the bill would create new licensing of abortion facilities, mandate that many physicians who perform abortions carry $1 million in liability coverage and require all women requesting an abortion be screened for whether they were coerced to abort.

“It would drive a lot of ob-gyns out of Michigan,” said John Keserich, director of political field operations for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, which planned today’s rally.

David Maluchnik, director of communications for the Michigan Catholic Conference, said it is speculation that a “lot” of ob-gyns would leave Michigan as a result of the House bill. He noted that only 14 percent of ob-gyns performed abortions, according to a national study published in the September 2011 issue of “Obstetrics & Gynecology.”

Mary Valentine, 65, of Muskegon, who was among the protestors, lamented the fact that pro-choice and pro-life advocates have been so bitterly at odds.

“I don’t know why we can’t sit down and find some common ground, instead of going to war with each other,” Valentine said.

Keserich said the rally was intended to keep pressure on state senators as they review the bill. Today is one of the few days this month the Senate is in session, but as of early this afternoon, a vote on the bill was not scheduled.

After converging on the Capitol lawn, the group of 60 protestors entered the Senate gallery, quietly watched the proceedings an hour and then filled the Capitol rotunda to chant their protest of the bill.

Find A Health Center