The Corner

Politics & Policy

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer: Abortion Is ‘Life-Sustaining’

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer gestures as she welcomes Joe Biden during his campaign stop at Cherry Health clinic in Grand Rapids, Michigan, March 9, 2020. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Michigan’s Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer has been in the news often of late, mostly due to her exceptionally creative interpretation of how to wield state authority against COVID-19. As our own David Harsanyi pointed out in a recent piece, Whitmer’s expansive stay-at-home order banned garden stores from selling seeds for fruit and vegetable plants by classifying them as non-essential.

Her order has also prevented big-box stores from selling some home-improvement products, forbidden Michiganders from traveling within the state to their second homes, limited the use of motorboats, and closed golf courses. The order in Michigan is one of the most restrictive in the nation, and last week thousands of residents flocked to Lansing to drive around the state capitol in protest, organized by a group called “Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine.”

Writing yesterday in the New York Times, Whitmer attempted to justify her lockdown decisions but studiously avoided answering for the specific parts of her stay-at-home order that seem most irrelevant to curbing the spread of disease and that have Michigan residents most incensed.

Aside from the aspects of the order that clearly seem to be unnecessary overreach, Whitmer’s policies are particularly troubling because of the disparity between the relatively innocuous things she has banned and some of the activities she has allowed to continue.

The Republican speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, for instance, has noted that while buying seeds for your garden is banned, marijuana dispensaries in the state remain open. In an interview last week, meanwhile, Whitmer gave conservative opponents another reason to question her leadership by defending her choice to allow elective abortions to proceed.

On April 16, Whitmer was a guest on David Axelrod’s podcast “The Axe Files,” and Axelrod asked for her opinion on state efforts to limit abortions in order to conserve medical resources during the pandemic.

“We stopped elective surgeries here in Michigan,” Whitmer replied. “Some people have tried to say that that type of a procedure [abortion] is considered the same, and that’s ridiculous. A woman’s health care, her whole future, her ability to decide if and when she starts a family is not an election. It is a fundamental to her life. It is life-sustaining, and it’s something that government should not be getting in the middle of.”

Whitmer’s use of the phrase “life-sustaining” to describe a procedure that intentionally ends a human life is deeply sinister, an example of the Left’s common practice of defending abortion by refusing to admit what it is. “Deciding if and when” to start a family is one thing; actively killing an existing human being is another. The fact that Whitmer refuses to distinguish between the two reveals how indefensible her position is.

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