ICYMI: State Senators Geiss and Chang, Reproductive Healthcare Advocates Hold James Craig Accountable for His Extreme Anti-Choice Agenda

LANSING — Yesterday, MDP held a virtual press conference with Michigan Senators Erika Geiss and Stephanie Chang along with reproductive healthcare advocates to discuss the dangers of James Craig’s extreme anti-choice views. 

Speakers zoned in on the Republican gubernatorial candidate’s recently reported commitment to block any legislation seeking to repeal Michigan’s 1931 near-total abortion ban should it reach his desk as governor.

Michigan’s law is even more restrictive than the six-week ban that was allowed to go into effect in Texas. Should Roe v. Wade be overturned, Michigan would immediately revert to the 1931 law.

Governors are now the last line of defense. James Craig has made it clear to Michiganders that he won’t ensure the right to reproductive health care is maintained within the state regardless of what happens at the federal level. 

See below for key highlights and watch the full conversation here.

Dr. Rob Davidson – emergency physician in West Michigan and Executive Director, Committee to Protect Health Care

“[Craig’s extremist agenda] is going to lead to undue suffering and sometimes death. 23,000 people died as a result of unsafe abortions in 2014 alone […] It will happen here in Michigan and it will be at his hands. I just hope that the reporters on this call will further question Mr. Craig on what he plans to do about that. As a physician wanting to take care of my patients the best I can, this is going to have a direct impact on my ability to do that.”

“I have to ask Craig: how far do your views go? Is that criminal? Are you going to prosecute me?”

“People are still going to seek abortions, they’re just going to do it unsafely. I dread someone coming in with infection or bleeding because Mr. Craig decided that getting an abortion was illegal.”

State Senator Erika Geiss (D – District 6)

“The 1931 law is so draconian that it doesn’t just criminalize it for the person seeking the abortion, but also for the physicians. It disrupts that patient-healthcare provider relationship that is really nobody’s business but between that patient and their healthcare provider and whoever else that patient decides to include. Government should not be deciding what is in the best interest of the patient who’s making this type of decision.”

“We have this opportunity to repeal the 1931 law with SB70, which I’m the sponsor of, and it’s companion bills 71, 72, and 73, of which Senator Chang is one of the sponsors. […] It’s important that these bills are passed and this 1931 law is repealed because for years, for years we’ve known that the threat to Roe v. Wade was possible. In recent years, between a growing violence of anti-abortion groups and the latest make-up of the hostile-to-abortion Supreme Court, the threat to reproductive rights and justice, including abortion access became not just possible but probable.”

State Senator Stephanie Chang (D – District 1)

“James Craig was a top law enforcement officer in multiple big cities in our country. What’s really disturbing to me is that as law enforcement, the first priority should always be protecting our victims and survivors. […] When you think about victims and survivors of sexual assault, to not include an exception for rape is so extreme. As James Craig keeps talking, we’re going to see more and more of these examples of how extreme his views truly are, and I hope that Michigan voters are paying attention.”

“Michiganders support access to safe and legal abortions. […] These comments from James Craig show yet again another example of why he is not fit to govern because one of the most critical pieces of governing is listening to people who are impacted.”

“[Craig] has made it clear yet again that he is not listening to the people of Michigan and that brings into question his ability to lead. […] Governor Whitmer has led, has listened, and will continue to stand up for people who could become pregnant and defend this really important right to abortion.”

Barb Fuller – Director, MI List

“I believe we need to hold James Craig accountable for his pledge to uphold the laws that criminalize abortion. […] At this point there are over 10 Republicans claiming they’re going to run for governor. I think every last one of them need to be held accountable for where they would stand on Sen. Geiss’ bill and where they stand on a woman’s right to make personal healthcare decisions free from governmental interference.”

“We know Governor Whitmer will stand strong with us. Always has. She’s been out front about this. She does not believe there is any place for this paternalistic legislation that wants to interfere with a woman’s right to choose. And a majority of Michigan citizens agree with that position as well. It’s only a small, vocal, anti-choice, right-wing majority in our two chambers that want to take these decisions away from women.”

Julie Campbell – President of the Board, Fems for Democracy

“I want to be really clear here about who James Craig’s extremist anti-choice agenda impacts the most: women of color, young people, and low-income Michiganders that lack the resources or time off from work to access reproductive care outside of Michigan.”

“If Mr. Craig truly cares about reducing the need for abortions, he would be discussing pay equity, raising the minimum wage for everyone, and affordable access to quality health and child care.”

“Now is the time for us all to be coming together to build a world where each of us has the power, the resources, and the support that we need to care for ourselves, our families, and our communities. We demand a leader that will support and help us make this a reality.”

“Thank you Governor Whitmer for supporting a woman’s right to choose. And I do ask that every candidate running for governor make clear their positions on this matter.”

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