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Michigan state Rep. Karen Whitsett (D) is taking a stand that could single-handedly derail her party's abortion policy goals.
Democrats in the Great Lakes State are trying to expand abortion access in a package of bills known as the "Reproductive Health Act." But there is a major problem standing in their way. Because Democrats hold only a narrow majority in the Michigan state House, they need the support of every Democratic lawmaker to pass the bills.
The legislation would, among other things, repeal the 24-hour waiting period for an abortion and allow taxpayer funds, via Medicaid, to fund elective abortions.
Enter Rep. Whitsett, who opposes both initiatives.
"I will not cast a single vote to allow taxpayer money to fund elective abortions when those same dollars should be used to fulfill our duty to struggling seniors living in poverty," Whitsett said. "The choice is simple — we can either fund essential care for seniors or fund elective abortions. I choose our elders."
The Democratic lawmaker also explained, "I do not think it is too much to ask when someone's terminating a life, a 24-hour pause to be able to say for sure this is the decision you want to make, 24 hours is not too much."
Fortunately, Whitsett is not all bark.
This week, she was the lone Democrat to vote against moving six of the bills in the package from committee, the Detroit News reported. And without her support or the support of any Republicans, the package may fail to pass.
Planned Parenthood, meanwhile, is outraged over Whitsett's principled stand.
In a statement, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan president Paula Thornton Greear said:
Rep. Karen Whitsett’s opposition to the Reproductive Health Act is a betrayal of her constituents who overwhelmingly support access to abortion. If Rep. Whitsett votes in opposition, she will be solely responsible for the continued enforcement of dozens of anti-abortion restrictions that disproportionately harm women of color and people who are struggling to make ends meet
Despite the strong words, Whitsett is not backing down. In an interview with WWJ-TV, she defended her stance, saying she is committed to protecting women and "the most vulnerable."
Democratic lawmaker speaks on opposition of Michigan abortion billswww.youtube.com
Whitsett is no stranger to standing on a political island.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Whitsett sided with Republicans to curb Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's power. Democrats also censured her in 2020 for meeting with then-President Donald Trump and crediting him for saving her life after she contracted COVID-19.
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Chris Enloe is a staff writer for Blaze News