Two Legislatures: One a Champ and Another a Chump
A few weeks ago, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley became our Chump of the week after vetoing $453,680 for domestic violence and sexual assault prevention. To make matters worse, she called these funds “special add-on lines” that “distract from the agency’s broader mission of protecting South Carolina’s public health.”
She said they only make up “a small portion of South Carolina’s chronically ill or abused,” but the South Carolina legislature knew better. With a unanimous vote in the House (111-0) and a resounding vote in the Senate (39-2), the state legislature overwhelming voted to override Haley’s veto.
The South Carolina legislature knows how important it was to keep these funds, especially in a state where the rape rate has exceeded the national rate since 1982, with South Carolina is ranked seventh in the nation for the number of women killed by men. They know these issues are a public health concern and that rape centers couldn’t afford to lose 37percent of their current state funding.
For standing up for women’s access to health care and overriding a bad veto by one of our frequent chumps, the South Carolina Legislature has earned Champ status this week.
So while South Carolina legislators stood up for women’s health, Michigan legislators did the opposite — moving forward with a sweeping bill that would further restrict access to abortion.
Only one month after thousands of women protested in front of the state capitol over the silencing of two female state representatives, the Michigan State Senate’s Judiciary Committee heard an hour of testimony before passing onto the full Senate a restrictive abortion bill — less than 24 hours after it was announced that the hearing would take place.
Even with such short notice, women from across the state, including leading medical professionals, packed the hearing and demanded their voices be heard. They warned the legislators of the serious ramifications and unintended consequences this bill would have on women’s health, including requirements that health centers providing abortion become unnecessarily licensed as freestanding surgical centers — a burdensome requirement that could force all such health centers to close.
However, despite these warnings, the Judiciary Committee voted 3-1 to recommend the bill. They are attempting to rush through legislation that would have serious ramifications and unintended consequences on women’s health. They don’t want people to know the truth — that it could ban abortion statewide — and are trying to fast-track a bill and give little time for legislators to read and understand what exactly is at stake.
Because of their attempts to restrict women’s access to health care and fast-track a dangerous and harmful bill, these opponents of women’s health in the Michigan legislature are our Chumps of the week.