MichMash: Democrat Karen Whitsett facing backlash over abortion stance

Rep. Whitsett is the only Democrat in the House Health Policy Committee that voted against the Reproductive Health Act.

Michigan abortion

In this Friday, June 24, 2022, file photo, abortion rights protesters cheer at a rally following the United States Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade outside the state capitol in Lansing.

Democratic State Rep. Karen Whitsett is opposed to her party’s attempt to strip abortion restrictions from state law. Bridge Michigan’s Lauren Gibbons sat down with MichMash host Cheyna Roth to breakdown Whitsett’s opposition.

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In this episode:

  • Rep. Karen Whitsett’s reasoning for opposing her party’s abortion bill efforts
  • Prison gerrymandering and how prison population numbers are artificially inflating the the general population of certain communities
  • Automobile accidents and reimbursements by insurances

Whitsett is the only Democrat in the House Health Policy Committee that voted against the Reproductive Health Act. The Act is an 11-bill package of abortion access bills that had been expected to pass through the legislature with a slim Democratic majority. The legislation would allow state Medicaid funding to be used for abortion as well as repeal aspects of Michigan law that restrict abortion access.  

Gibbons says Whitsett’s main concerns are about elements of the repeal and the Medicaid funding. “She said that she was concerned about the possibility of that taking away from other Medicaid beneficiaries, especially seniors.”  

Whitsett’s vote was at the committee level and hasn’t been brought to the House floor yet but because of the slim majority it does raise concerns.  

“…one Democrat being concerned and potentially voting in opposition could derail the whole thing,” said Gibbons. “Republicans I’ve talked to said they won’t support it [the democratic efforts] even those who have been more moderate on the abortion issue in the past. Currently the activism here is essentially trying to pressure Whitsett and anyone else who has concerns so that their minds could be changed.” 

Rep. Whitsett still hasn’t shown any signs of wavering in her stance.  

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  • Hernz Laguerre
    Hernz Laguerre Jr. is a Multimedia Journalist at 101.9 WDET. He is one of the co-host for "Detroit Evening Report," one of the weekend anchors for "Weekend Edition," the producer for our political podcast, "MichMash," and reports on arts, culture and politics.