Health care is a human right. That’s why we support reproductive rights. ⋆ Michigan Advance

know about Health care is a human right. That’s why we support reproductive rights. ⋆ Michigan Advance

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Our labor movement is about fighting for all workers and residents of the US to be treated with respect and dignity and to enjoy the same rights and protections.

We also have a long history of fighting for quality, affordable health care, whether at the bargaining table or advocating for state and national legislation. Our labor movement believes that access to quality, affordable health care is a human right.

So when AFT Michigan endorsed the Reproductive Freedom for All ballot initiative, our board’s decision was entirely consistent with what the labor movement has fought for for so many years.

This initiative, which would enshrine reproductive rights in the Michigan Constitution, turned in a record number of signatures, far more than enough to qualify for the November ballot. It is imperative that this ballot initiative be supported by voters, as here in Michigan we have a 1931 law that eliminates the choice on pregnancy by banning abortions.

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Planned Parenthood, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and Attorney General Dana Nessel are doing their best to fight this law in court, and Planned Parenthood obtained a court order prohibiting implementation of the 1931 law. In August, the Court of Appeals questioned the validity of the precautionary measure. As of now, abortion remains legal in Michigan, but the state of reproductive rights is fragile.

The solution is this ballot initiative.

As we consider the ballot initiative, we must ask:

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Are we treating women equally and with dignity and respect if society tells them that they do not control their life choices? Having this control under Roe has led to more women being able to support their children, participate in the workplace and in community leadership positions, and continue their education.

Are we treating women equally and with dignity and respect if society tells them that they are not in control of their own bodies and may have to put their lives at risk?

Ana Langer, a professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, says eliminating reproductive choice does not result in fewer abortions, but rather forces women to put their own health at risk by seeking unsafe abortion care or suffering complications in the pregnancy.

Langer cites a 2021 study described in Duke University Demographics that estimates that “banning abortions in the US would lead to a 21% increase in the number of overall pregnancy-related deaths and a 33% increase % among black women, simply because staying pregnant is more dangerous than having an abortion.” These percentages do not include deaths from unsafe abortions.

As is almost always the case, the people most harmed by restrictions on reproductive choice are those who are already marginalized: black and brown women, low-income women, people with disabilities, trans and non-binary people, who face additional barriers to obtaining attention. they need.

Ultimately, the anti-choice movement is about wanting to control others and subjugate women. What I am suggesting here, and what the Reproductive Freedom for All ballot initiative is fighting for, is not radical. The initiative provides choices, just like we have with all of our health care needs, and trusts that people know their own circumstances better than any legislator.

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As a result of the Roe vs. Wade reversal, many people’s worst fears about the future of reproductive freedom have been realized, and it is up to all of us to defend these fundamental rights. I haven’t often spoken publicly about reproductive rights, but if ever there was a time to step out of our comfort zone and raise our voices in support of reproductive freedom, it is now.