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Whitmer’s COVID-19 Talking Points: ‘Life-sustaining’ Abortions and ‘Racist’ Michiganders

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AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continues to make headlines in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. And those headlines aren’t exactly the type that inspire hope during a time of crisis.


To slow the spread of the virus and direct the maximum resources available toward containing it, Whitmer has extended drastic measures to close off “non-essential” business and transactions throughout the state. She now faces a lawsuit from her own legislature, which her office has dismissed as “just another partisan game,” and restless protestors, some of whom the governor claimed are displaying the “worst racism” of U.S. history.

As she’s made national news for her bold actions, Whitmer has also called for a halt to almost all elective surgeries at all hospitals and health care facilities and recently extended that order to May 28.

Why the “almost”? Because she has made clear that fighting the spread of the deadly coronavirus is less important than ending the lives of unborn children. That’s why her order applies to all elective surgeries except for abortions—which her order specifically excludes.

Speaking on a podcast last month, the governor defended her administration’s controversial decision to keep abortion facilities open, a move that will undoubtedly continue to divert personal protective equipment from frontline healthcare workers. The kicker of the interview came with Whitmer’s rhetorical flourish that the life-ending procedure is in fact “life-sustaining” for women.


This is all about hope versus despair. At a time when we’re doing everything we can as a society to preserve lives, Whitmer’s comments and policy betray a dark, pessimistic view of humanity—both for those in the womb and for their mothers, fathers, and family.

A quote often attributed to Mother Teresa says, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” In stark contrast, Whitmer seems to believe that many women are incapable of leading valuable lives if they don’t have the option to kill their children. The governor isn’t empowering women with such statements; she’s denigrating them.

Yes, for many women, pregnancy is a difficult time filled with new challenges and all the accompanying fears to go along with them. But the temporary challenges involved with welcoming new life into the world are not what determine the value and dignity of a human person. If that was true before the current coronavirus situation, we should be even more aware of its validity when we’re so concerned with the threat of a global pandemic that we shut down the economy to help flatten the curve.

Abortion is anything but life-sustaining. Many women resort to abortion because they feel it is their only choice, and many women regret their abortions, dealing with grief, loss, and remorse for a lifetime.


There are always good, healthy, and safe options for women and their babies. A few weeks ago, a pregnant woman who came to an abortion clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina, was just a few yards away from walking through the door and ending the life of her child. But before she made that irreversible choice, she stepped inside a mobile ultrasound unit affiliated with the non-profit charity Cities4Life.

This woman was given the opportunity to meet her baby for the first time via a free ultrasound. Not only that, she was connected to vital social services, including diapers, baby furniture, bottles, baby clothes, maternity clothes, groceries, and money for rent, utilities, vehicles, vehicular repair, gas, prenatal care, and follow-up ultrasounds.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that, when presented with a true choice, this woman rejected the hopelessness of abortion and chose life instead. This is what happens when hope wins out over despair.

Shockingly, the same day this mother chose to embrace the life of her child, Cities4Life members—deemed “non-essential” by their county—were arrested despite fully complying with all emergency orders and proclamations related to the coronavirus crisis. That prompted a lawsuit from Alliance Defending Freedom. After all, if abortion businesses can stay open during the coronavirus crisis, non-profit organizations that provide social services to women should be allowed outside—particularly when they are abiding by health and safety guidelines.


Rather than doubling down on a message of hopelessness and fear, Whitmer should be championing truly life-sustaining help like Cities4Life offers. In Michigan, more than 100 locally funded pregnancy centers, non-profit adoption providers, maternity homes, and mobile ultrasound units serve women free of charge, going above and beyond to offer an antidote to despair.

Especially during a time of fear and uncertainty, we need the hope-filled reminder that every life is valuable, precious, and worthy of protection—including those in the womb.

Elissa Graves is legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom(@AllianceDefends) and its Center for Life.

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