(Crystal A. Proxmire, April 13, 2017)
Lansing, MI – Supporters of women’s healthcare access gathered in Lansing Sunday for a quickly organized rally to draw attention to the moves by State Republicans to block organizations like Planned Parenthood from receiving Federal Funding.
HB 4221, introduced by Reps. Johnson, Glenn, Lucido, Barrett, Howrylak, Miller, Griffin, Rendon, Whiteford, Kahle, Reilly, Noble, Brann, Chatfield, Graves, VanSingel, Allor, Bizon, Frederick, Theis, Runestad, Calley, Howell, McCready, Wentworth, Cole, Tedder, Kelly, VanderWall, Hernandez, Canfield, Lower and Hoitenga would block Title X funding to Planned Parenthood and other organizations by changing the current statute to read “It is the policy of this state in allocating funds through grants or contracts for educational and other programs and services to refrain from allocating funds to an entity that considers an elective abortion to be a part of the continuum of health care for purposes of family planning or comprehensive reproductive health services.”
A similar bill was introduced in the State Senate by Patrick Colbeck – (primary) Goeff Hansen, Rick Jones, Phillip Pavlov, David Robertson, Darwin Booher, James Marleau, Dale Zorn, Mike Green, John Proos, Mike Nofs, Marty Knollenberg, and Judy Emmons.
President Donald Trump today signed a resolution that allows states to restrict funding in this way.
Sunday’s rally included about 200 protestors, many of whom were women wearing pink knitted hats, and speakers from throughout Michigan.
Jenny Byer Elgin of No Space for Hate urged the crowd to continue coming out and putting pressure on elected officials. “Our town halls and our rallies are working,” she said, giving the example of healthcare reform efforts in the Obama administration remaining in place because some Republicans refused to vote for the Affordable Care Act’s repeal.
“Stopping Title X funding is a misguided attempt to defund clinics like Planned Parenthood,” Elgin said. “It’s not stopping abortion. It’s stopping low income men and women from access to health care and birth control.”
Fair Michigan’s founder Dana Nessel asked for volunteers to get petitions to try and put protections into the State Constitution that would bar discrimination based on sexual orientations, gender identity and expression and gender.
“As you know, LGBT people in this state have virtually no rights whatsoever and that includes medical treatment. Maybe you don’t know but if you are a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Trans person did you know that you could be turned away by a medical provider and they can actually refuse to provide medical services to you and your family?” Nessel said. “How are we going to make things better? …When I took a look at Article 1, Section 2, the Equal Protection Clause of the Michigan Constitution a funny thing happened. I noticed that beyond sexual orientation, beyond gender identity, there was another class of people that was missing from the Constitution….. women.” Fair Michigan will be collecting signatures to put the issue on the ballot for 2018.
Other speakers included Michigan House Democratic Floor Leader Representative Christine Greig, Danielle Atkinson of Mothering Justice, Julia Pulver of Women Organize Michigan, Macomb County Assistant Prosecutor Suzanna Shkreli and potential candidate for the 11th Congressional District Haley Stevens. Check out the video below for more remarks.
The rally was organized by Women Organize Michigan and supported by several other organizations. Learn more about this group at http://womenorganizemiorg.nationbuilder.com/.