Republicans who control the state House on Wednesday shut down an attempt from Democrats to tie-bar every bill being considered to a measure that would repeal Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban, declaring the effort “dilatory.”
The gag rule used by the GOP majority is a rarely used mechanism that has not been seen in the House for decades, according to Democratic House spokesperson Joe Clark. A motion is considered as such if it seeks to obstruct or thwart the will of the assembly; the Republican-led House declared the move from Democrats to be a delay tactic.
Gideon D’Assandro, spokesperson for House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Clare), did not respond to a request for comment.
Wednesday is supposed to be the final voting session day in both chambers of the Michigan Legislature before the lame duck period leading up to the Nov. 8 general election. However, there’s been some drama and delays on a supplemental spending plan, with House Appropriations Chair Thomas Albert (R-Lowell) resigning Wednesday morning in protest.
State Rep. Carol Glanville (D-Walker) was gaveled down and prevented from speaking on abortion, something that the GOP majority has done in previous sessions. She told the Michigan Advance the parliamentary procedure used was “a little offensive.”
“We are talking about some pretty serious health care options and rights that have been rolled back 50 years. And for the Republican leadership to assume that is a waste of time for legislators to be talking about, within the parliamentary process, that’s a problem, I think,” she said.
Glanville said Democrats have been fighting for abortion rights on several fronts and the tie-bar attempt was just one “effort to recognize that it is an archaic law and it shouldn’t have been in the books when Roe was overturned. We’ve lost rights. We are trying to just get back to where we were for the last 50 years.”
House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township) said in a statement that the Democrats’ bill “to repeal the ‘31 abortion ban deserves an up or down, record roll call vote, and instead we get this: a majority party pulling out every ancient tool they can dust off to trample any notion of protecting these rights.”
The GOP-controlled Legislature has so far spent more than $180,000 of taxpayer money to uphold the 1931 abortion law in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. The law provides no exceptions for rape, incest or the mother’s health — only to save the life of the “pregnant woman.”
Michigan’s law, one of several other “trigger laws” that went into effect after Roe was toppled, is currently on pause by order of a Court of Claims judge. It is at the center of multiple legal fights, including a lawsuit filed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
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