I don't know about you, but I'm tired of moving one step forward and two steps back on reproductive freedom.
Just yesterday, Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger, a Republican, publically proclaimed mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions have no place in his House.
When we posted on Facebook to thank Speaker Bolger for listening to us about women’s health care, a few people commented with skepticism that true progress had been made. But I was hopeful – hopeful that this progress would last more than 24 hours.
Less than a day later, news sources announced that his colleagues in the Senate would be dropping abortion coverage for senators and their staff effective May 1. There are 38 state senators – 34 men and four women.
Apparently, women senators are entrusted to make decisions about our state, but not their own bodies or health care. Could it be that once again men are calling the shots about women’s health care?
This isn’t the first time women have been left out of the conversation. Who can forget the all-male testimony on birth control last year or the silencing of a state legislator for daring to say “vagina” on the House floor?
Forty years after the historic Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade recognized that a woman has the right to decide to have an abortion, we’re reminded on a daily basis that some politicians are still trying to take that right away - even from the women they work with.
Of course, we don’t all feel the same way about abortion. But we should be able to agree that this decision is better made by a woman and her family than by politicians.
Despite the voices of Michiganders raised for women's health this summer, some politicians haven’t gotten the message. We will need to keep up our momentum if we are to protect the right of a woman and her family to make their own decisions.
Perhaps former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a point when she noted "Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me... Yes, it is hard to believe that even here at home, we have to stand up for women’s rights and reject efforts to marginalize any one of us, because America needs to set an example for the entire world."
But here in Michigan we must stand up for our sisters, mothers, daughters, and even for the women in power.
By Rana Elmir, Communications Director