Democrats Take More Action to Protect Reproductive Freedoms in Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is joined by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, bill sponsors and other activists in repealing Michigan's abortion ban. (Courtesy/Governor Gretchen Whitmer)

By Kyle Kaminski

May 4, 2023

LANSING—Democrats are continuing to protect abortion rights in Michigan this week as state lawmakers advance a bill that outlaws companies from retaliating against employees who receive abortions.

The bill passed along party lines in the Michigan House after previously having been approved by the Senate in March. It would amend the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights act to prohibit employers from treating a worker differently for terminating a pregnancy.

“No one should lose their job or have to worry about their employment when making a decision that relates solely to their bodily autonomy,” said Democratic Rep. Felicia Brabec of Ann Arbor.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to sign the legislation, and has emerged as a leader in the movement to protect abortion rights. Republicans have opposed the measure to protect Michigan workers.

Dr. Sarah Wallett, Michigan’s chief medical operating officer, testified in March during a Senate committee hearing in favor of the legislation.

“Whatever factors go into a person’s decision to end a pregnancy, it is certainly none of their bosses’ business,” Dr. Wallett said. “Having an abortion has no impact on somebody’s ability to perform a job.”

It would be the second time this year that Democrats have amended the state’s decades-old civil rights law. In March, Whitmer signed legislation that added LGBTQ+ protections by permanently outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

READ MORE: Democrats ‘Running to the Finish Line’ to Protect LGBTQ Rights in Michigan

Since the fall of Roe last year, protecting abortion rights has been a priority for Michigan Democrats, who control both chambers of the Legislature and the governor’s office. In last November’s midterms, voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure that enshrined abortion rights in the state’s Constitution.

The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public services based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status.

Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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