Why Bust Abortion Stigma?

September 7, 2019 marks the date of Reclaim’s FIRST annual fundraiser, Busting Stigma: A Burlesque Show! It promises to be a night of magic, storytelling, and burlesque, but why do we need to bust abortion stigma?

Ever since abortion was legalized across the United States, there has been a systematic effort to eliminate access to abortions. Mandatory waiting periods, six-week and method bans, and most recently, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider (TRAP) laws are examples of these restrictions. They are put in place to make people who seek abortion care jump through unnecessary hoops in order to have a legal and constitutionally protected procedure. They also penalize those who perform abortions. These restrictions make abortion harder to access (impossible for some) without making it any safer. That’s right, these restrictions do NOTHING BUT CREATE OBSTACLES for pregnant people seeking abortion.

So, if the majority of Americans (54%) believe that abortion should be legal in most cases, how is it that abortion opponents have been able to stack state courts and legislatures with anti-abortion folks bound and determined to eliminate access to this NECESSARY AND SAFE medical procedure through restrictive laws? Here is what we know:

  1. Most people do not understand the gravity of the abortion restrictions. These laws use tricky language that sound good at the surface; however, when we dig deeper, the reality of the restriction presents itself.

    • Example: Michigan has a MANDATED, 24-hour waiting period. This law requires that people seeking abortion schedule their appointment as well as receive written and verbal information at least a full 24 hours before their appointment. On the surface, the waiting period is intended to give pregnant people the time to become fully informed on their choices. Great, right? WRONG! Let’s start with the assumption that pregnant people need time mandated by the government to consider their options. This section was obviously written by someone who has NEVER taken a pregnancy test. Those who have, know that the 5 minutes it takes for a pregnancy test to process are longer than Microwave Minutes! Most pregnant people know how they want to proceed with their pregnancy before the second line appears on the stick.  As for the written information, 67% of the statements made about abortion and fetal development in the first trimester of Michigan’s State Mandated Paperwork are inaccurate, and it can be difficult to obtain. Michigander’s seeking abortion can get their paperwork from a provider, faxed to them, or online. For some, picking up the paperwork is a challenge because they have a job, don’t have transportation, or live out of state. These folks seek to get the paperwork online. The State of Michigan intentionally makes this paperwork difficult to find with multiple steps of the same inaccurate information. Don’t believe it? View the steps here and get to the confirmation page. As far as faxing goes—most people don’t have access to a fax machine or don’t feel comfortable receiving 15 pages of abortion related information at their employer; therefore, this option is rarely used. To summarize, the State Mandated 24-hour waiting period is riddled with inaccurate statements, difficult to get, and unnecessary, yet it prevents many people from getting the care they need. This is just ONE of the HUNDREDS of abortion restrictions across the country that prevent people from obtaining abortions.

  2.    Opponents of abortion control the rhetoric. Even within the abortion rights movement, supporters use language that paint anti-abortion advocates in a positive light. They get to be “pro-life” while the opposite is assumed to be “pro-death,” but only one of these groups is advocating for paid maternity leave, affordable childcare and healthcare for all (not anti-abortion folks btw). They get to “save babies” while doing NOTHING that amounts to helping low-income folks afford another child (yes, another because 4 out 5 people who have an abortion are already mothers). They say that Planned Parenthood promotes black genocide, while refusing to look at the systemic effects of racism and poverty contributing to the abortion rates in the United States. They wonder if the aborted “unborn” person could have cured cancer, while ignoring the person seeking abortion so that they can continue earning their medical degree. The unborn are the most convenient group to advocate for because they exist in a fantasy that does not include the realities of the society we all live in.  

  3.  Those who’ve had abortions are stigmatized by this rhetoric and shamed into silence. One in four people who can get pregnant will have an abortion before the age of 45. We all know someone who’s had an abortion. In most cases, it is someone we love. The power of abortion opponents comes when those who have had abortions are silenced and shamed by the stigma of the procedure. That silence is debilitating, but once we all realize that abortion is the freedom to control our own path, we must celebrate those who come forward and talk about their abortions!

Busting Stigma combines abortion storytelling and burlesque to help bust abortion stigma! Reclaim works every day to advocate for accurate abortion information in our legislature and our community. Our MI WIN Fund helps people afford abortions. Tickets are on sale now so join us on Saturday 9/7/19 at Tangent Gallery in Detroit for Busting Stigma: A Burlesque Show!

Abortion in Michigan, 1972: This is Your Grandma/Sister/Teacher/Mother/Friend/You

Guest Blogger & Reclaim Supporter, Ellen

I delivered this speech at a rally for choice at Ferndale City Hall, May 21, 2019. I had never spoken before a large group; I am a writer and have no real “public speaking” experience. Frankly, the thought terrifies me. But when I learned of the event organized by Fems of Dems, I reached out because I felt compelled to share this story, at this critical time. With a few days’ notice, a crowd of 300 came together with an outpouring of rage—and support. Being in front of the crowd wasn’t the difficult part of the experience--it was very meaningful and memorable, despite a shaking leg. I only cried while writing it. I cried a lot.


Were you born before Roe v. Wade? Before January 22, 1973?

I was born in 1969.

In 1972, a very close family member had an abortion. She is now in her late 70s and does not wish to be identified, but gave me permission to share her story.

Who was she? An irresponsible, uneducated girl who didn’t know better? 

Not at all. She was a young Jewish mother, college educated, happily married with two young children, who attended a synagogue in Oak Park.

And she was taking birth control pills. Her birth control failed.

Although abortion was illegal in Michigan, fortunately, she did not to have to resort to coat hangers and back alleys. Nor did she have to leave the state or country.

Nope. Her own doctor performed the abortion—illegally-- in his office.

“One day I’ll tell you more about it,” she said, a few days ago.

So this is not the scary, dangerous, she-almost-died abortion story. It might even sound mundane. But because it’s so ordinary, this story could be your grandmother, or your mother or aunt or sister or friend—or maybe it was you.

What did her husband think, in 1972? Well, he told me over lunch yesterday, he recalls she asked at the time whether he supported her decision, and he said yes. And then he told me, “but I would have preferred not” --that she not have the abortion. Not because he was morally opposed, because he would have opted to have another child.

But she didn’t ask. And he didn’t offer his opinion on the subject. Never did. Because it wasn’t his decision to make, although it would have been his biological child.

Her body, her choice.

Around that time, my close family member volunteered for Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion, (CCS) representing 2,000 clergy across the US and Canada. Volunteers took phone calls from women seeking abortions, who would be referred to clergy, who then assisted them in procuring either legal or illegal abortions from medically licensed doctors. 

Around that same time, during one of the three attempts for abortion reform in Michigan’s state legislature, something remarkable happened in the state Senate--exactly 50 years ago.

Lorraine Beebe, a Republican from Dearborn Heights, told a room full of male senators that she had a therapeutic abortion in 1948 following five miscarriages. 

Senator Beebe received a standing ovation. The proposed legislation failed. She wept. The admission destroyed her political career, but she went on to become a pro-choice advocate. Along the way, her family was threatened, her tires were slashed and her house was fire bombed.

But the women of Michigan were not deterred--certainly not my close relative. A ballot initiative was launched. With two young children at home, she collected signatures at Northland Mall to put Proposal B on the ballot. Polls showed abortion rights were leading the opposition, but it didn’t come to pass. A very well-organized group of zealots spread their pamphlets and demonstrated with pictures of bloody fetuses at the Ann Arbor Art show that summer. The final push was TV ads aimed at low income and Black women, framing abortion as population control.

The proposal failed miserably.

Two and half months later, with the Supreme Court decision--Roe v Wade--a woman’s right to choose, the right to have an abortion, became the law of the land.

I was four years old at the time.

My very close family member had an abortion just months before it was legal.

I have been a feminist from birth and pro-choice before I fully understood human anatomy, I just knew that it meant the right for a woman—any person—to make choices about their own body. Simple as that.

And now, I don’t equivocate. Choice is absolute. Women are unique and have abortions for individual reasons at different times in their lives.  And none is any less deserving of bodily autonomy. None is deserving of a stranger’s judgement.

I’ve always been a fierce supporter of Planned Parenthood and lately, more so. I attended the House committee hearings on the abortion procedure ban, the D & E--Dilation and Evacuation--which is the medical name, despite the headline-grabbing language used by extremists. I witnessed with horror as the chair of the committee, Rep. Michelle Hoitenga, accused an OB/GYN of having “no credibility.”  That day, I also witnessed the compassion of Reps. Brenda Carter and Cynthia Johnson.

In the end, misinformation and lies won the day. But it won’t in the Governor’s office. That’s why we elected her.

Months ago, I learned the Planned Parenthood clinic in Livonia was being targeted by protesters, and I was eager to step in. That location does not provide abortion care--not that it matters to them, or me. So I monitor the parking lot, usually alone, to prevent patients from being harassed as they come for their paps or birth control pills or cancer screenings or pregnancy tests. The protesters advertise where they can go for free ultrasounds—their lies are free, too.

They call me a murderer and offer to pray with me. I never respond.  No expression. They really hate that.

Once the ringleader lady started saying nasty things about how I must have been raised, about my mother. And that almost got me. Don’t mess with my mother.

I was at Northland Family Planning, the one located in Westland, this past Saturday, and that’s where the protesters are really are out in force; in the summer I hear 100 can show up on a weekend morning.  Independent abortion clinics do not receive government funding and provide the vast majority of abortions. They need your help. If you want to help women in Michigan, write this down: Reclaim Project.

You don’t have to defend the clinics. There are many ways to be an activist. Educate your children, family members and friends. Call BS wherever you see it. Support only pro-choice candidates in any way you can. 

I’m a single-issue voter, I was raised that way, and I’m proud to say so. Any single-issue voters out there?

VOTE like your life depends on it.

Support vital institutions like Planned Parenthood—that goes without saying. And never forget your independent providers who receive less attention.

As for me, I have never had an abortion. I have never been pregnant and I never wanted children. As a matter of fact, I’m queer. That’s beside the point.

These are the issues, for all of us: Bodily autonomy. Privacy. Human dignity.

Here’s a word to the opposition, and to anyone in elective office or who wishes to be:

Pay attention. There’s a whole lotta women not rallying today. Older than the Baby Boomers. The Silent Generation, like my family member who had an abortion in 1972. Like them, she may be silent in public, but raging at home: sharpening her manicure, and writing checks.

Rage on.

It tears me up every day that Roe may be overturned and abortion criminalized again in her lifetime—in OUR lifetimes. I owe it to her, and all who came before me, and all who soldier alongside me, to fight like hell to never let that day come.

Who’s with me?

I’ll Never Eat German Pancakes Again

Guest Blogger & Reclaim Supporter, Dan

It’s shocking how few amenities there are in a U-Haul truck.  Am I really looking at a cassette tape player in a brand new truck?  They must just figure that since people are moving they will have an obligatory shoebox of cassette tapes from the 80s.  What’s it going to be this trip: Milli Vanilli or The Bangles?

My brother-in-law is driving this round of goods back and forth between his rental and newly purchased home in the suburbs of Minneapolis.  We are still dripping sweat from the last load.  Two couches, a nursery set and, because U-Haul knows their shit, a tattered shoebox labeled “mixed tapes.”  

As I comb through the box our conversation bounces between the NBA Playoffs and Tiger Woods.  I turn each tape over reminiscing. Wrecks-In-Effect, Digital Underground, Beastie Boys. We stop at a traffic light and my brother-in-law turns to me.  “Now you had an abortion didn’t you?  How did that make you feel?” he asked.

A wave of heat pours over me.  I go to press the button and roll down the window.  Of course, it’s a crank.

I’ll Never Eat German Pancakes Again

When you think back on a snapshot in your life that is overwhelmingly difficult, does it take on a color?

Sitting in the lobby of a Planned Parenthood with my hands between my knees, everything is white.  My girlfriend, turned eventual wife and then eventual domestic partner in crime, is in the back alone.  She’s scared, I’m scared, and our minds are racing at dangerous RPMs.

Forty year-old me breaks down the door, finds her patient room, and holds her tight through the entire procedure. Nineteen year-old me sits under the buzz of white, fluorescent lights.

When she’s done we go out to the white car and sit for a while under the white, puffy clouds.  We sit.  We cry.  We’re scared and lost for so many different reasons. We sit and cry some more.  

I suggest breakfast at a local restaurant we used to go to on my birthday as a kid.  In my memory the restaurant carries a white fog.  Was there a kitchen fire? Probably not.  The fog is the barrier between me and my emotions that I still struggle with today. I ordered a German pancake.  Last one I’ve ever had.

The Safety of a U-Haul

The light turns green and I am still processing the question.  I have never had another man ask me how I felt about the abortion.  Not about the topic of abortion, but about my abortion.

To understand the power of the question you need to grasp the space that men create when they are emotionally bonded.  Erase the images of the country club and the poker games.  Those are men flexing and boasting.

Men can actually create a safe space with each other where they will share things that they don’t feel comfortable sharing, even with their spouse or partner.

When a woman asks you about abortion, often times you read her body language and search her catalog of Facebook posts.  On the ultra rare occasion that they ask about your abortion you find yourself talking about your partner’s feelings and the support (or lack thereof in a white room) you provided.

When your partner asks you about the abortion you begin to question if your feelings should even be considered.  You feel shame for the position you’ve put her in. Guilt for the pain she has endured. Confusion for where society has brought us.

In a U-Haul truck devoid of seat massagers, satellite radio, and even power door locks (WTF), you can open up to someone you trust.

I feel grateful for the life I live today and my beautiful children.  With each passing birthday party, vacation, and every smile the shadow of knowing I could have a child graduating from high school grows dimmer.  And I recognize the choice was the right one, and allowed us to be where we are today.  There is no denying that.

The pain that I brought to my partner by not being able to openly communicate and comfort are unbearable at times.  Our relationship could have been stronger. That pain is real.

Breaking the news to my mom about the abortion was emotionally devastating.  Her sobbing and open disappointment in our decision bruised my soul. The dismissiveness of and complete disregard for mine and my partner’s feelings and autonomy is a hurt we both feel today.    

If I had someone to talk to at the time outside of my partner I feel that my life could have been even greater than it is today.

The rattle of all the items in the back of the truck as we rolled down the highway was painfully symbolic.  Just like the moving truck, you collect emotional baggage through life.  When you hit a bump and your load is light you don’t feel it.  When you hit a pothole at 60 miles per hour and your load is heavy you certainly feel it.

By the time I had bared my soul to him, we reached our destination.  As my brother-in-law reached to swing open the door I stopped him and gave him a hug.  I thanked him for asking me the question because I feel like he really cared. He opened up a conversation and created another level of trust and intimacy between the two of us.

Unloading The Truck

I am an influencer.  I can take a room full of people and make them laugh.  I can take a sales team and make them better. I can suggest a new craft beer and people will try it.  So how can I, as a pro-choice influencer with leadership skills, help women and society?

When women talk to men about abortion the lines are blurred.  When men talk, preach or litigate about abortion they are flexing.

If my dad put his arm around me and asked how I felt about what I had gone through in that white room, my life would be different.  It’s painful to think about how many men are hurting like I was because they could never talk about their feelings on that level. Or because no one ever asked.

Men can publicly speak, march, rally, protest, and donate millions to the pro-choice movement.  This is all great.

The most powerful conversations men have are outside of the locker rooms and the boardroom.  Sometimes, the most powerful conversation men have are in the front of a stripped down U-Haul truck with New Kids on the Block in the cassette deck.

If more men shared their stories intimately, listened to other men and simply asked how they felt, I don’t think we would have the anger we have today.

I should have mentioned that my brother-in-law is staunchly Pro-Life.  He just cared enough to ask.

I hopped back in the passenger side of the truck as we set off for another pickup.  Sometimes, it is difficult for men to transition from a heavy topic to lighter fare. In that vein, my brother-in-law starts the engine, turns to me, and recites a line from the wise Lloyd Christmas ala Dumb and Dumber:

“Some place warm, a place where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I'm talking about a little place called Aspen.” (To which the proper reply would be: “Oh, I don’t know Lloyd, the French are assholes.”)

Michigan Abortion Advocates Cannot Rest on Their Laurels... or a Governor's Veto

Last month, my social media feed was all fired up as states across our country introduced 6-week abortion bans that would essentially eliminate access to care before most people even know they are pregnant. The outrage was palpable. It seemed as if people with uteruses saw how this legislation will affect their lives for the first time, but this shock-and-horror wave crossing the Facebook universe has been the reality for abortion providers since Roe was decided over 40 years ago. Restrictions on abortion have been a thing since the dawn of legal abortion, and providers have been screaming for years that our country is on a slippery slope backwards, staring down the inevitability of Roe being overturned in our lifetime.

 So, what has changed? After 40 years of constant attacks, restrictions, and violence against providers, why are people outraged now? Maybe the outrage and activism we saw blossom after the 2016 election is still making waves. More likely, though, the politicians supporting anti-abortion legislation are no longer hiding behind the mask of “protecting women” and have revealed their true intentions. They want to eliminate access to abortion. Full stop. Because reproductive freedom is powerful and the rich, white, American male is feeling a little fragile. What better way to remind people with uteruses where they belong, than to control their bodily autonomy?

Last month, the Michigan State Senate and House passed bills that would punish doctors for following the standard of care in abortion. Yet another example of individuals with no medical experience and their pure disdain for people who can get pregnant straight up lying to the public, claiming to know what they do not know in order to protect us all.

It’s time to remove the rose-colored lens of the protections of Roe and face reality before it is too late. If you’re new to protecting abortion access, there are a few pointers that can direct you where to start. Here is what we know:

1.     The Supreme Court of the United States will have a conservative influence over the next generation of Americans thanks to Donald Trump’s lifetime appointment of two new justices. The SCOTUS that brought an end to separate but equal, took action to stop women dying from illegal abortion, and passed marriage equality is in jeopardy. Abortion advocates have warned us for years about the emerging path to overturn Roe and it did not start in the Alabama legislature last month. Hundreds of abortion restrictions have been introduced across the country to chip away at the rights promised by Roe. It is a slow systematic effort that brought us the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider (TRAP) Laws and that closed hundreds of clinics across the country. Even though clinics were able to survive TRAP laws, they are left with a hefty financial burden. Michigan has faced its own set of challenges, and new abortion bans were introduced here last year. So let’s move our focus a little closer to home.

2.     Pro-choice Michigan supporters are on a high from the 2018 Midterm elections. The people showed up at the polls and elected Democratic, pro-choice women for Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State. Abortion advocates did a collective sigh of relief knowing that a Governor’s veto would protect abortion access in Michigan for the next 4 years. However, depending on the Governor to veto abortion bans is a Band-aid, not a solution, to the ever-growing abortion ban problem. Pro-choice supporters and advocates have historically missed the long-term strategy bus. They seem to be forever reacting to abortion restrictions introduced in our state instead of being proactive with protections to the bodily autonomy of our citizens. Yes, Governor Whitmer has promised to veto any abortion restrictions that cross her desk; however, the anti-abortion movement is not discouraged and their sights are set for 2020. They have already started a ballot initiative that would leave it up to the voters to decide the best practices for abortion in Michigan. They have the rhetoric, imagery, and money to influence voters in 2020. Ballot initiatives for abortion restrictions have been successful in Michigan’s past including 1) parental consent for abortions, 2) 24-hour waiting periods, and 3) insurance bans. All vetoed by the sitting governor, all enacted through ballot initiatives. It’s time we focus on long-term solutions to abortion access in Michigan.

3.     Michigan has an ancient law from 1931 making it a felony for doctors to perform abortions. This law became moot after Roe v. Wade passed; however, with a conservative majority on the US Supreme Court and the 46-year attack on Roe, overturning the landmark legislation is more possible than ever. Michigan’s Attorney General, Dana Nessel, has promised never to prosecute pregnant people for seeking abortion or providers for performing abortions. This is great… at the state level. Nessel’s proclamation does not prevent county prosecutors from pursuing the law. Though the Attorney General may never prosecute providers and pregnant people for abortion, the 83 Michigan County Prosecutors have not made the same promises.

4.     Abortion does not just benefit people with uteruses. We have to hear from the men who’ve benefitted from abortions. Abortion can no longer be seen as a “woman’s issue,” (btw—women are not the only ones having abortions). Men benefit from abortion financially, emotionally, professionally, all the ways uterus bearing people benefit from bodily autonomy, and it is time for them to recognize and start speaking up! If you have a story of how someone else’s abortion benefitted you, please send your story to info@reclaimproject.org

Here is the big take away: abortion rights are protected by and taken away by the government. Michiganders must be single-issue voters. If candidates waiver on choice, they have no place becoming our elected officials. Pro-choice politicians support pro-choice policies and respect the bodily autonomy of Michigan’s citizens. Elected officials are where pro-choice protections begin and abortion bans end. To find out if a candidate that you are considering supporting believes in protecting the bodily autonomy of our citizens, check out sites like Vote411 and Ballotpedia.


By: Jennifer Decapua, MPA

Abortion Provider Appreciation Day March 10, 2019

In 2001, as I was graduating with my bachelor’s degree and desperately searching for a job, my then boyfriend (now husband) pointed out an employment ad in the paper. “Hey—this sounds perfect for you.” After seeing the title of the ad, “Passionate about helping women?” I knew I needed to apply.

I had no idea I was applying for a position at an independent abortion clinic.

18 years later, and I cannot imagine doing anything else with my life. My career and volunteering have offered me so many beautiful opportunities I would have otherwise missed out on. I have been honored to hold the hands of hundreds of women going through an experience that, for many, will stand out in their lives, one way or another. I have been witness to heartbreak, anxiety, fear, and growth, strength, and love. I’ve held the hands of kids, scared to tell their mom they are pregnant, of wives and husbands making the choice to terminate because of a fetal anomaly, and of women who are mothers already, secure and confident in their choice to have an abortion.

Beyond the patients that I have served are the providers I have had the absolute privilege of working beside. And here is what I wish patients knew and understood: the women and men who walk through the clinic doors every single day to provide you with the life-saving service of abortion care are HEROES. Full stop.

On March 4, 2019, a man was charged in the arson at a Planned Parenthood in Missouri. February 26, 2019 a teen in Texas is arrested for threatening to “commit jihad on abortion clinics.” In July of 2018, another arson attempt was made at a Planned Parenthood in California. 

These are just three of the stories that made national headlines recently. What you likely don’t hear about are the occurrences of domestic terrorism that your local abortion provider has to deal with daily, from clinic protestors out front, to unwelcoming municipalities. As an abortion provider, I have had many moments where I have questioned my ability to continue in this line of service. Some of my coworkers, myself included, have been the victims of anonymous hate mail sent to our entire neighborhoods (and my children’s school). I was working in the clinic when we received hoax anthrax letters in the mail. I haven’t even mentioned having to contend with the blatantly false and hurtful things that are said about abortion and abortion providers by friends, loved ones, and society at large.  

The safety of staff, patients, and visitors is always a top concern for any abortion clinic. The steps and measures that are taken to make sure we are safe and feel secure are incredible. But what a burden and drain for what is essentially a doctor’s office that provides a legal and safe procedure to have to carry.

The staff members you see at an abortion clinic make a decision every single day to go in to work FOR YOU: for your families, your mothers, your sisters, your daughters, your wives, your girlfriends, your best friends, your roommates, your son’s partner, your cousins, your husbands, your fathers, your brothers, your sons. Our work is dedicated to helping make sure you and your family are able to fulfill the futures you dream of.

With these threats in mind, we take extra precautions to enter our building, open the front door, and welcome you to an inviting, warm, and comfortable environment. We make sure you feel safe and supported in your decision to terminate. And that in and of itself is a heroic act. We go above and beyond to assist our patients in any way we can. We hold sacred space for you, because you deserve that care.

And so do we. This Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, reach out to your local clinic and say thank you. Because without us, there is no access to abortion care. There is no access to finishing school, to finding your perfect job, to completing your family, to being who you want to be. No access to survival- physical, emotional, mental, economic, and otherwise. Not just for people who can get pregnant, but for the people who rely on them, too.

Stand up for us, and with us. We are in this together. People who provide abortions, people who have abortions, people who support bodily autonomy—we are all good people.

Call to Action! Stop the Shame in #MILameDuck 2018!

Lame duck started this week.
Buckle up, folks!

LAME DUCKS: elected officials in their final period of office, after the election of their successors. 
Lame ducks in Michigan are using the time they have left to exercise their power without the fear of consequences! We need to speak up against these bills and demand politicians follow the will of the people!

Make your calls ASAP!

*See up-to-date reports on #MILameDuck here!* 

SB 1171 & SB 1175

  • 400,000 signatures were gathered to put a minimum wage increase and mandatory paid sick time from employers in Michigan on the ballot

  • The initiative was adopted in September 2018 and removed from the ballot to avoid a public vote in the general election

  • THIS WEEK, State Republicans in the Senate GUTTED the bills including

    • Removing tipped workers (servers, bartenders, etc.) from the wage increase

    • Prolonging the minimum wage increase from 2022 to 2030

      • Minimum wage for hourly employees will go from $9.25 to $12.00

      • Minimum wage for tipped employees will go from $3.52 to $4.00

    • They called to reduce the required paid sick time in half from 72 hours to 36 hours

  • SB 1171 is sitting on Governor Snyder's desk.  Demand he veto SB 1171! Call Today 517-335-7858!

SB 1198

  • Michigan currently has a ban on telemedicine for medical abortion that is about to expire. This bill would make the ban permanent

  • This bill would disproportionally affect pregnant people in rural areas because 89% of Michigan counties are without an abortion provider 

  • Due to the dwindling number of abortion providers, this ban could eliminate access to abortion in many parts of Michigan


HB 4500

  • A fetus or embryo is recognized and defined in the criminal code as a victim of a crime

  • This would increase penalties of low level crimes committed by pregnant people

  • Sets a precedent of fetuses as people that can be used to criminalize abortion in the future


SB1250 & HB 6553

  • These bills are a behind-the-scenes effort from Michigan's GOP to limit the power of incoming officials elected by the citizens of Michigan. 

  • SB 1250 would remove the power of campaign finance oversight from incoming Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson. 

  • HB 6553 would allow the legislature (a.k.a House Republicans) equal standing with the Attorney General in regards to lawsuits

  • Michigan's GOP is attempting to pass these bills in secret to go against the will of the people


  • House switchboard 517-373-6914

  • Senate switchboard 517-373-2400


The Absence of Heart in Ohio's Heartbeat Bill

Jordan Wyer, MSW

Update 12/17/18

Last week, Ohio State Senators approved HB 258. Governor Kasich now has the opportunity to sign or veto this legislation. We will keep you updated.

Ohio’s House of Representatives got a jump start to the holiday season with proposed abortion legislation that could essentially eliminate access to abortion care and the rights of pregnant people across the state.  House Bill 258, endearingly called the “Heartbeat Bill,” passed the State House on November 13, 2018 and is headed to the Ohio State Senate this week for approval. Though anti-abortion supporters have a catchy name and inflatable heart sign to support this legislation, the consequences it imposes is no laughing matter. HB 258 would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, except in cases where the mother’s life is in jeopardy (there are no exceptions in the bill for pregnancies as a result of rape or incest). Many times, this means that pregnant people may lose their right to abortion before they even know that they’re pregnant. Doctors who provide abortions could also be charged with a felony and face a sentence of up to one year in prison and a $2,500 fine. This law is dripping with anti-abortion rhetoric and ZERO scientific evidence to back it up (like almost every other ridiculous abortion ban).

Ohio lawmakers attempted to pass similar legislation in 2016 which was vetoed by their current Governor, John Kasich. He stated his opposition was due to similar bans being struck down in courts across the country, but he still managed to appease his anti-abortion base by signing a 20-week ban for the state. It was previously thought that a six-week abortion ban would not survive a lawsuit; however, Representative Christina Hagan (R), co-sponsor of HB 258, is confident that the combination of the current presidential administration, the majority support in Ohio’s legislature to overturn another potential Governor veto, and the yes-vote guaranteed from the Governor-Elect, Mike Dewine that this bill could be one of the first to make it through Ohio’s Circuit Courts and reach the Supreme Court of the United States to challenge Roe v. Wade.

This bill can be added to the hundreds of abortion restrictions that have chipped away at abortion rights since 1973. These laws attempt to eliminate abortion without addressing the root cause, unintended and unwanted pregnancies. Ohio House Democrats proposed amendments to the bill that would ensure the women of Ohio have access to free birth control and schools could teach comprehensive sex education and contraception use. Not surprisingly, these amendments were rejected, and anti-abortion legislators prove that this is not about preventing unwanted pregnancies, but taking reproductive freedoms away from the lives of pregnant people in Ohio. This is a wake up call to those who think access to abortion is settled law.

Co-Founder of Shout Your Abortion, Lindy West, said it best last week on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah,

“Anti-choice people are not trying to stop abortion.They are trying to legislate who can and cannot have abortions. Because conservative politicians -- their wives and mistresses and daughters are always going to be able to get an abortion somewhere. ALL CRIMINALIZING ABORTION WILL DO IS KEEP PEOPLE TRAPPED IN POVERTY FOR GENERATIONS. THAT’S THE GOAL, and if that wasn’t the goal they would spend their time and money on comprehensive sex education, free birth control, and free contraception.”

We send our regards to our Midwestern neighbors to the south as clinics in Michigan prepare for the influx of patients they will inevitably see as pregnant people (continue) to cross state lines to access abortion care. This means that they will have to wait longer, travel further, and pay more for procedures performed out of state. We are watching you, Ohio. The abortion rights of your citizens will not be overturned. We have come too far.

Side Note: We are not dismissing the other radical anti-abortion bill, HB 565, that was proposed in Ohio around the same time. Even though it has received much more media attention than the heartbeat bill, the implications are not realistic. Media outlets have been silent on HB 258 while centering their focus on HB 565 which would 1) define “unborn human” in the criminal code, 2) carry new punishments for pregnant people experiencing miscarriages under “suspicious circumstances,” and 3) charge practitioners with murder. Though this bill has more dire consequences and creates an eye-catching headline, it does not have the foundation to pass as law.

Abortion is Health Care, Not a Criminal Act!

Reclaim and the National Institute of Reproductive Health (NIRH) launched a new campaign, highlighting what could happen in Michigan if Roe v. Wade is overturned. With social media ads and billboards across Michigan, this campaign is raising awareness of a pre-Roe abortion ban that is still on the books. This ban from 1931 could charge doctors providing abortions with felonies that have a sentence of up to two years in prison!

With the recent addition of Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court of the United States has the conservative lean it needs to overturn or severely weaken Roe v. Wade. Without the federal protection of Roe, state prosecutors in Michigan could enforce this archaic statute immediately, criminalizing doctors who provide abortions as they seek to care for pregnant people in Michigan. We are one of 9 states that has a dangerous, outdated abortion law on the books, and anti-abortion zealots across the country have already started to use these laws to punish pregnant people seeking abortion care. Michigan’s old law could now put doctors at risk. This action would go against the majority of Michigan residents who support abortion rights and believe abortion should remain legal.  

We know that criminalizing abortion does not stop abortions from happening, it only forces people to carry unintended pregnancies or end their pregnancies on their own, even if it’s illegal. This law has the potential to deprive Michiganders of the abortion care they need. It is time we tell the Michigan legislature to reflect the will of the people BECAUSE ABORTION IS HEALTH CARE.


For more information, check out www.abortionwithoutpunishment.org

We Are the Rainbow...

Borrowed from our friends at In This Together Project. 

I’ve had a love affair with Northland Family Planning since summer of 2016. The first time I had a taste of how NFP was different from other abortion care spaces, was the first day that I escorted with them. I have been involved in reproductive justice since 1998, after my own abortion experience. When I walked away from that experience it was without shame, regret, or apology.  This was a service that I NEEDED at 19 years old, after surviving sexual assault. My experience was unique. I did not encounter protestors. I was not stopped during my entrance to the clinic.  There were no barriers for me.  I had a supportive mother and the funds available.  I was definitely in a place of privilege despite the trauma of how I’d gotten pregnant. My abortion experience informed my activism. It reiterated the necessity of abortion care as part of reproductive healthcare for me and all who needed it. I read everything I could about abortion. I read about Planned Parenthood, and Roe v. Wade, and obsessively watched If These Walls Could Talk, all the while never having any doubt about how much we need to protect abortion care providers. 

The first time I would see ACTUAL protestors and clinic escorts would be some years later, in Aurora, Illinois, at the Planned Parenthood location in the Chicago suburbs. They were loud, they were mean, they were terrorists. The way they shamed the patients of this clinic for seeking any type of services, from birth control to abortion care was something I was not prepared for. Those entering the building were being informed of their immorality, of their “sins against Christ”, and of their failures as women. I remember leaving that clinic after my first shift that day and sobbing for the patients seeking services. They were being abused and traumatized for what I believe to be a normal part of reproductive healthcare. This should have been a space of peace, support, and safety to assist the patients walking through a day that no one ENJOYS being part of. This experience SUPER CHARGED my activism, and my desire to create a safe space for ALL PEOPLE involved in the abortion care experience, from patient to provider, and everyone in between.

Today, I am a WE. Myself and the rest of the crew of In This Together Project work directly with the Northland Family Planning clinics to ensure our patients have EVERYTHING they need to walk through this process. The In This Together Project clinic escorts are a group of volunteers who are dedicated and committed to working alongside Northland Family Planning in creating a space that is supportive, affirming and safe for EVERY patient that walks through our doors. When you see us in our rainbow vest’s, with our hands confidently motioning you into our parking lots through any protest action that may be present, please know that you are entering a bubble. This is a bubble we’ve created with NFP that is comprised of compassion, non-judgement, and emotional support. We are there to make sure YOU are taken care of, to make sure that YOU know, we support YOU in whatever decisions are best for YOU. 

What we do not support are acts that shame, humiliate, dehumanize, or terrorize anyone seeking reproductive healthcare and abortion services. We are there to ensure access to the clinic in a harassment and trauma free environment. It is with our sincere sadness and regret we are not able to remove protest actions from the sidewalks of our property, and we are often unsupported legally due to the current conservative administration in D.C., and local political lawmakers that remain ambivalent to choice aligned options, or subscribe to conservative values not in line with abortion care services. However, that being said, the clinic escorts found at NFP, place patient experience and the availability of ALL options of ALL people in need, in front of what we find to be abusive and reprehensible behavior found in the anti-choice movement. We may not be able to shut them down, but we ARE able empower our patients and those that support them in a variety of ways.    

Protested spaces can be incredibly confusing, especially at abortion care facilities. Between the voice amplification, the signs, the manipulation tactics, and disturbing language entering the clinic spaces on days protestors are present, it is easy to misunderstand who is a friend and who is a foe. Protestors prey on people in difficult circumstances. They operate under many of the tactics in which cults recruit new members. They are seen on the sidewalks of abortion care facilities, often times utilizing voice amplification devices, and making attempts to hand out religious based, anti-abortion “tracks” to patients entering the clinic space. We CANNOT stress enough PATIENTS, DO NOT TAKE THESE HANDOUTS. They contain NOTHING that is medically accurate. These tracks are designed to emotionally intimidate people seeking abortion care. The Northland Family Planning facilities offer comprehensive resources regarding an unplanned pregnancy. The escorts with In This Together Project and the staff at NFP will be able to supply you with all the resources and information you need no matter if your journey is abortion, adoption, or parenthood, in a medically accurate context, and a supportive environment COMPLETELY free from bias, emotional manipulation, and coercion. The protestors are there to create chaos and to confuse people. Just remember IF THEY ARE OFF OUR PROPERTY, THAT IS A PROTESTOR. Keep your windows up, don’t engage, and look for the rainbow vests of In This Together Project escorts. You are NOT out here alone. 

We have spent many a day, in the presence of magical women who have allowed us to be part of their journey. We have held hands, and wiped tears and given out hugs after guiding patients inside. We have been thanked and appreciated for being kind or simply “there” during moments that can be painfully private, isolating, confusing, and exhausting. In a space where so many are judged so harshly, we have been the calm. In these moments, when patients are expressing gratitude or appreciation, in tears, and just relieved to have the support they need to manage their day, it is us that are truly grateful. We are grateful that you allowed us to be of service to you. In every possible way, “it takes a village” and we will always be part of this little NFP village.

If you are reading this prior to your appointment date, and if you have any questions about what to expect during your time at NFP, please do not hesitate to contact us at InThisTogetherProject@gmail.com. Appointments are 4-6-hour days and we understand how frustrating and upsetting unwanted engagement can be during this time. We are here to help you navigate this.

In respect, love, service and solidarity,

Lucy Fyre and the ITTP Crew

For more information on getting involved and volunteering with ITTP find us at InThisTogetherProject.com, on Facebook, and on Instagram @ITTProject.


Erasing History... Your Comments Are Needed!

I remember the day one of my close friends (a woman of color) said, “History is written by the ‘winners’.”  She spoke this as I was learning about the boarding schools Native Americans were sent to in the late 19th century to mid 20th century in order to make them assimilate to the new Euro-American culture. Children were taken from their parents and communities, stripped of their identities, required to speak a foreign language, and many more atrocities occurred that attempted to dismantle Native culture in America. This was not the history of Native Americans I remember learning in school. I was never the one to question a textbook in high school, but as I entered college, I was disgusted by the real history my primary school education had glossed over. White history is required in grades K-12. History surrounding the rights of minorities (civil, racial, women, LGBTQ) are electives in higher education.

These historical disparities could potentially veer further from the truth in Michigan schools in the near future. New proposed social studies standards would remove references to gay rights, Roe v. Wade, and climate change. Also, they would essentially erase any material surrounding the KKK and NAACP. They would also like to remove the word “democratic” from Core Democratic Values because they claim it is bipartisan… America is (supposed to be) a DEMOCRACY! This must be the twilight zone.

Is anyone else flashing back to when Trump took office and the White House website removed pages regarding similar topics? If we do not teach our children the true history of America, and allow discussion of these important topics, the worst of history will surely repeat itself.  We cannot stand for this white-washing and conservative revision of American History.

Public feedback hearings are being held (See this article for dates & locations). If you cannot make it to the hearings, be sure to leave your comments online here! The vote will take place on June 20, 2018, so get your comments in ASAP!