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Take Over the Capitol Day, Michigan Style!

Whew! What a day it was- from the weather in it's "Pure Michigan" glory with a downpour of rain combined with glorious sunshine, to the groups of women that came out to unite together to halt the War on Women (and their families, I might add).  This past Wednesday, July 18th, hundreds of women and men descended on the State Capitol lawn to raise their voices and BE HEARD!  To gather a few hundred people on a Wednesday in the middle of summer is a large feat in itself- but this situation is too big to ignore! Between the speakers from all the different groups that joined together, to the lobbying of legislators by individuals, it was a successful day!  Speakers were from United Steel Workers Local 1299, the Michigan Nurses Association, Breastfeeding Mothers Unite, Equality Michigan, Oakland/Macomb NOW & our very own Executive Director of Northland Family Planning Centers!!  It was a rousing speech- exciting and angry at the same time.  Check out the text of her speech, below! And stay tuned for more on the issues affecting Michigan women and their families! GOOD MORNING AND THANK YOU ALL FOR COMING TODAY My name is Renee Chelian and I am the executive director of Northland Family Planning Centers. By the way, if you like my War on Women T-shirt, you can stop by our table and buy one or get the info to order online.-- I am a Reproductive Health Care Worker and an Independent Abortion Provider.  That also makes me, based on a recommendation by the United Nations Special Rapporteur, A human rights defender. There are several Independent Providers in this audience. Independent Providers provide the vast majority of abortion care in the State of Michigan and in the United States. Those of us that are here are members of the National Abortion Federation—we belong voluntarily because we want to maintain the highest NATIONAL STANDARDS set by THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY---NOT POLITICIANS!   I have talking points and facts to share for lobbying today, tomorrow, and until WE WIN the WAR against WOMEN. I share these facts with the hope that we can move more Women AND Men to stand up with their VOTES in this August primary and the general election in November. But also to visit, write, email and call your elected officials for the next 5 months!   1. Being pro choice ONLY means that you cannot make any personal reproductive decision for another human woman or family. Being ANTI choice (not pro life) means you DECIDE for everyone else. There is NO personal choice or decision. Politicians and the government decide for you and your family.   2. Abortion is the safest surgical procedure in this country. It is safer than having a shot of penicillin AND MANY TIMES SAFER than riding a motorcycle; something the Michigan Legislature apparently feels is very safe and a personal decision—since reversing the helmet law. This is one example that exemplifies their War On Women agenda and NOT a concern for public safety.   3.  There is NO medical justification in these anti abortion laws being proposed –NONE. These laws will not make abortion safer for anyone because IT IS ALREADY SAFE. THE many anti abortion laws we currently have to comply with were designed to make abortion harder for women to obtain. They do not make abortion safer.   4. These new proposed laws will either make it much more difficult or impossible for any women to obtain LEGAL Reproductive Health care AND they may also close most of our health centers and cut off ALL reproductive health care in Michigan ---THAT IS THE GOAL OF THIS LEGISLATURE AND MICHINGAN RIGHT TO LIFE. There is NO health crisis.     During the public committee hearing that many of us were shut out of—there was 1 Democrat from Dearborn who abstained from voting.  I stood next to Ed Rivet, the Right To Life (RTL) Lobbyist later that afternoon, when he called that state representative out from the floor, and heard with my own ears how he threatened this representative because he abstained from one RTL vote. The representative answered that he felt the process was unfair and that we should have been allowed to speak. HOWEVER, Ed told him he was greatly disappointed in him and expected better. This man did not have the integrity to stand up to Ed and RTL. Instead, he apologized and groveled to Ed!  If that was in a public hallway, can you begin to imagine what RTL threatens privately to anyone who does not vote their way?! We must put and end to RTL threats and intimidation by Voting Pro-choice women and men into office this year.   If these laws are passed and there is a legal challenge it could cost the State of Michigan millions of dollars. Not only because our attorneys can win back attorney fees as they have for other anti abortion legislation…… But look at all the money spent by this legislative body using all the resources of writing and re-writing these bills, meetings, staff time, committee hearings- THIS IS YOUR MONEY! And they spend it on abortion WHILE CUTTING money for education, healthcare, food for children already born and resources for the elderly and poor!!   Our bodies have been made a political toy. I don’t want that for my daughters or yours. I pledge to continue to fight and work as long as abortion is legal and to provide quality reproductive health care to all the women you love and care deeply for.   BUT I NEED YOU …….Tell your Senator to stop this nonsense…….TELL our Governor to tell his Republican Senate to STOP this bill or Tell him YOU EXPECT HIM TO VETO IT.  OUR LIVES ARE NOT POLITICAL TOYS ….We can be trusted to make our own health care decisions.  We deserve to be trusted with our own choices about the time to bring new life into the world. We are mothers, daughters, sisters and friends …..we are also husbands, fathers, and brothers of Good, Moral Women who choose abortion with great thought and with moral integrity. I know, because I hold the hand of these women every day and have every day since 1973. Pick up one of the handouts about Good Women ---link and visit our website, and see our video, Everyday Good Women Choose Abortion.   Today is NOT just a rally. You are lobbying by showing up, by emailing, by writing and today is about the next step in Keeping the Pressure on until the end of the year!   A Senate hearing was scheduled today on yet another anti- choice bill. It was cancelled late yesterday.  Give yourself a round of applause and credit for this!   Since I have no legal restrictions on endorsements, I want to add something. Don’t be a Democrat who eats their own. Some of you may be disillusioned with the Democrat Party. But it is the Republican Party that is waging The War On Women. Keep up the pressure and VOTE them out of office in the primary AND in November.  Show the country that Michigan is the tipping point in this War On Women!   Thank you