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Whitmer says "with the current legislature I have, there is no common ground" on abortion

Whitmer says "there is no common ground" with current legislature on abortion
Whitmer says "with the current legislature I have, there is no common ground" on abortion. 07:28

Washington — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer warned Sunday that the current political makeup of state legislature makes it difficult to find common ground on reasonable restrictions on abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court's seismic decision rolling back the constitutional right to an abortion.

"What I'm trying to fight for is the status quo in Michigan and there are reasonable restrictions on that," Whitmer said in an interview with "Face the Nation." "With the current legislature that I have, there is no common ground, which is the sad thing. They've already introduced legislation to criminalize and throw nurses and doctors in jail. They've all endorsed the 1931 law. All of the Republican people running for governor, they want abortion to be a felony, no exceptions for rape or incest. That's the kind of legislature that I'm working with."

Michigan is one of nine states with an abortion ban on the books that pre-dated the Supreme Court's landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide, and was never repealed. In anticipation of a decision from the high court overturning Roe, which the justices did Friday, Planned Parenthood of Michigan and an abortion provider in the state filed a lawsuit challenging the state's pre-Roe ban, and a state court judge in May temporarily blocked enforcement of the 1931 law making abortion a felony in most instances.

Michigan has a Republican-controlled state legislature, and its GOP leaders do not support rescinding the near-century-old ban. While Whitmer supports abortion rights, she noted the state already has some restrictions in effect, such as a 24-hour waiting law.

The lawsuit from Planned Parenthood is one aspect of a broad campaign abortion rights supporters in Michigan have undertaken to protect abortion access in the state. Whitmer in April preemptively sued 13 county prosecutors with abortion clinics in their jurisdictions and is asking the state supreme court to protect the right to an abortion under Michigan's Constitution. Abortion rights advocates in Michigan have also launched a ballot drive to enshrine the right to an abortion in the state's constitution.

Whitmer said the country is facing a "fight like hell moment" in response to the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe, and she urged federal and state elected officials who support abortions right to use all tools at their disposal to protect abortion access.

"I've used every tool in my toolbox, we all have different sets, this has now been pushed down to the states. And that's why I'm fighting so hard to protect this right in Michigan," she said. "I am urging every, every pro-choice leader to use every tool in their toolbox. So I'm hopeful and believe that the Biden administration is going to do that."

Gretchen Whitmer on "Face the Nation" on June 26, 2022. CBS News

Whitmer said her there is broad support in Michigan for a woman's right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy, but said women as well as men need to be vocal in fighting to protect abortion access.

"I am horrified, as are so many women who are 50 years old, or in my generation, that the thought that my daughters will have fewer rights than I've had virtually my whole life," the governor said. "But I take heart in the fact that the vast majority of people in this state support a woman having that right to choose. I was raised by a pro-choice Republican father, and there are pro-choice Republicans and independents out there. We need them to join this fight."

She also lambasted the Supreme Court for not only its decision overruling Roe, but also for a ruling last week that expanded gun rights by striking down a New York law that restricted who could carry a concealed handgun in public.

"It crushes me to say that even I am losing faith that these important institutions that are supposed to be above the politics of the day are now being corrupted and that's what we're seeing out of our United States Supreme Court and I'm very concerned about our long-term prosperity, our homeland security, and our safety," Whitmer said.

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