Michigan governor calls abortion 'life sustaining'

Bill Pugliano Getty Images News Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. | Bill Pugliano/Getty

Pro-life adovcates have criticized the governor of Michigan for calling abortion a "life-sustaining" procedure during an interview on Thursday.

In an April 16 appearance on the podcast "The Axe Files," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) was asked by host David Axelrod to react efforts by some states to limit abortions as part of their efforts to conserve medical resources and combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"We stopped elective surgeries here in Michigan. Some people have tried to say that that type of a procedure is considered the same and that's ridiculous," said Whitmer.

"A woman's healthcare, her whole future, her ability to decide if and when she starts a family is not an election, it is a fundamental to her life. It is life sustaining and it's something that government should not be getting in the middle of," the governor said. 

Axelrod, the host of the podcast, is a former senior advisor to President Barack Obama. 

Right to Life of Michigan issued a statement on Friday criticizing Whitmer for calling abortion "life sustaining." 

"Whether or not it's time for Michigan to allow surgeries deemed non-essential is a question for public health experts. However, we demand Governor Whitmer's rule be applied equally to everyone. Abortion doesn't sustain life. Elective abortions sustain lifestyles through taking lives," said Barbara Listing, president of Right to Life of Michigan.

Listing said it was "unfair" that people in Michigan are unable to receive certain medical treatments, such as joint replacements, "while abortion facilities have free reign." 

"Governor Whitmer's ideology demands that she believe that needed medical procedures to treat real injuries and disease are not life-sustaining, and therefore she can get in the middle of those healthcare decisions."

It is "heinous" that abortions are allowed to continue amidst the potential personal protective equipment shortages that resulted in other procedures being canceled, said Listing. She suggested that Whitmer is prioritizing her political future ahead of the needs of Michiganders, and criticized the governor for her "extensive national media tour." 

"Her most important audience is Joe Biden's vice presidential selection committee, not the people of Michigan," she said. 

"Governor Whitmer has allowed her ideology to waste PPE needed by doctors and nurses during the worst stages of this pandemic, and now it has created a two-tier healthcare system in Michigan where abortion comes first and patients with serious medical conditions come second."

Statewide, Michigan has had 29,263 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with just over 2,000 deaths.

Abortion providers in states that have declared abortions to be "elective" procedures have filed lawsuits against the states in an effort to keep providing abortions.

Judges have issued injunctions allowing the abortion providers to continue operating in Alabama, Ohio, and Oklahoma. Only Texas has seen their ban upheld by a court.

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