On Wednesday, March 1, Planned Parenthood of Michigan's Chief Medical Operating Officer Dr. Sarah Wallett testified before the Michigan House Judiciary and State Senate Health Policy committees, urging them to repeal Michigan's 1931 criminal abortion ban. Listen to Dr. Wallett's testimony below.
Then send a message to your state legislators asking them to repeal the ban!
My name is Dr. Sarah Wallett. I am the Chief Medical Operating Officer for Planned Parenthood of Michigan. I am a physician, an obstetrician-gynecologist and a proud abortion provider.
Each day, I have the honor of providing essential reproductive and sexual health care including abortion to patients across Michigan – and to patients who have traveled across the country to reach me. I listen to their stories. I hold their hands. I laugh with them. I cry with them. And I support them as they make important decisions about their health, families and futures.
I should be in a health center caring for my patients today, but instead, I’m here asking you to do what lawmakers should have done decades ago – repeal Michigan’s 1931 criminal abortion ban.
It’s terrifying to know that a nearly century-old ban remains on Michigan’s law books, threatening to label me a felon. I should not have to fear being arrested, separated from my family, stripped of my medical license, and barred from practicing medicine simply for providing the care my patients depend on.
And my patients should not have to fear that they will abruptly lose abortion access and be forced to travel out of state, seek care outside of the legal medical system, or continue a pregnancy against their will. That is the reality for far too many Americans living in states with bans similar to the one we are discussing today.
Abortion is essential, life-saving and life-affirming health care.
And the research is clear: people who are denied wanted abortions face increased rates of life-threatening complications like eclampsia and postpartum hemorrhage. They are more likely to face health complications years after the pregnancy, as well as experience increased rates of poverty and domestic violence.
These people are not just statistics. They are the patients I care for every day. Patients with names, families, fears and dreams.
I have spent the past year in litigation, fighting to protect their right to determine their own reproductive futures and to ensure physicians like myself are not jailed for doing our jobs.
We were able to win an injunction against the ban, but that is not enough. Its continued existence in Michigan’s law books is an ever-present threat, intimidating patients and doctors alike.
Michiganders deserve to know that our state laws unequivocally guarantee their right to access safe and legal abortion.
On behalf of abortion providers and the patients who count on us for care, I urge you to remove this threat to our rights and health once and for all.