12 Michigan Republicans who rejected their own districts’ views on abortion

By Kyle Kaminski

December 14, 2023

Millions of Michiganders voted last year to cement reproductive rights into the state Constitution. But that hasn’t stopped Republican lawmakers from fighting back against the will of voters—even in their own districts.

MICHIGAN—Michiganders turned out in full force last November to support Proposal 3 and cement the right to have an abortion into the state Constitution. And this year, Democratic lawmakers took note by passing laws to expand protections and access for reproductive care.

But when the Reproductive Health Act came up for a vote this year, many Republican state lawmakers effectively turned their backs on their own voters by rejecting the legislation—including lawmakers who represent districts that clearly supported Proposal 3.

Among them: Republican House Minority Leader Matt Hall, who voted against every bill in the package despite a clear majority (55%) of voters in his district voting for Proposal 3.

“While we know there is more progress to be made, this legislation is an important step toward promoting equity and justice,” Michigan Democratic Party Chairwoman Lavora Barnes said in a statement. “The Freedom Caucus and MAGA Matt Hall’s MIGOP members have made it clear that they will undermine reproductive freedom at any chance they get, and we are so thankful that Democrats delivered this win for Michiganders to protect abortion rights for years to come.”

Several other Republican lawmakers (who are up for re-election next year) also ignored the will of their own constituents by voting against the Reproductive Health Act this year—even though most of the voters in their districts had supported Proposal 3 in 2022. Among them:

  • State Rep. Donni Steele, who represents a district where 60% of voters last year supported Proposal 3 to protect access to abortion care in Michigan.
  • State Rep. Mark Tisdel; 59% of his district voted for Proposal 3.
  • State Rep. Alicia St. Germaine; 58% of her district voted for Proposal 3.
  • State Rep. Jamie Thompson; 57% of his district voted for Proposal 3.
  • State Rep. Kathy Schmaltz; 56% of her district voted for Proposal 3.
  • State Rep. David Martin; 56% of his district voted for Proposal 3.
  • State Rep. Ann Bollin; 55% of her district voted for Proposal 3.
  • State Rep. Jerry Neyer; 55% of his district voted for Proposal 3.
  • State Rep. Timothy Beson; 55% of his district voted for Proposal 3.
  • State Rep. Jim DeSana; 54% of his district voted for Proposal 3.
  • State Rep. Thomas Kuhn; 53% of his district voted for Proposal 3.

Will of the Voters

Democratic-led legislation signed into law this week by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will officially repeal Michigan’s so-called “rape insurance” law that has banned insurance providers from offering coverage for abortion care without forcing women to purchase a separate rider.

That legislation marked the final piece of the broader legislative package known as the Reproductive Health Act, which included eight bills that Whitmer signed last month—all of which were designed to dissolve long-standing legal barriers to reproductive care across Michigan.

Under the new laws, several targeted restrictions on abortion providers (aka TRAP laws) are also set to be erased from the books in February, including unnecessary and cost prohibitive state rules that have prevented clinics from offering services across rural pockets of the state.

The legislation also repeals an old law that would have criminalized nurses and doctors for prescribing medication abortion. It also lifts a ban on what Republicans inaccurately call “partial-birth” abortions, which usually refers to the extremely rare dilation and extraction procedure that is performed in cases of miscarriages and fetal anomalies later in pregnancies.

The new laws will also allow people to sue if their constitutional rights are infringed, and end a ban that blocked colleges and universities from referring students for abortion services.

Whitmer said the laws, which still passed against GOP opposition, mark a “huge step” in expanding access to health care in Michigan and protecting Michiganders’ personal freedoms.

“If we have a constitutional right to reproductive freedom, but it’s not accessible for everyone, then it’s not actually a right,” state Rep. Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia) also told The ‘Gander.

READ MORE: How Whitmer’s fight for abortion rights helped turn Michigan blue

For the latest Michigan news, follow The ‘Gander on Twitter.

Follow Political Correspondent Kyle Kaminski here.

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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