Detroit News. September 20, 2023.
Editorial: Bills would make Michigan abortion haven
Now that abortion rights are enshrined in the state constitution, Democrats should deliver on the promises made before Proposal 3 was passed last fall — to recreate the abortion environment that existed under Roe v. Wade, prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision.
That is what Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said was the goal during her campaign for reelection and to get Prop 3 passed.
“What we have works,” she told The Detroit News Editorial Board about Michigan’s standing abortion regulations.
But now, Democrats in Lansing are trying to make the abortion environment in Michigan far more permissive than it has ever been by removing a slew of current regulations.
That includes lifting restrictions on certain abortion procedures, repealing informed consent requirements that protect the health and safety of women seeking abortions, and ending restrictions on using taxpayer dollars to fund elective abortions, among other things.
Supporters of the bills argue that the existing laws are unnecessary restrictions on abortion providers and regulating access to the procedure conflicts with the guaranteed right to an abortion under the new law.
But in 2022, the overall number of abortions in Michigan remained stable, with some reports that demand fell significantly. Meanwhile, abortions for out-of-state patients increased 66%.
That doesn’t indicate a lack of access.
Democrats should stick to the promises they made to get Prop 3 passed.
The Reproductive Health Act doesn’t do that. Most notably, it would repeal a mandate that doctors screen women for signs of coercion before an abortion and that they ensure patients sign a form 24 hours ahead of an abortion attesting they’ve read information on the procedure, potential complications and the gestational age of the fetus.
Women considering an abortion should understand the totality of what they are about to experience. Verifying that information has been communicated from an abortion provider to a patient doesn’t represent an undue burden on reproductive rights.
The legislation would irresponsibly repeal requirements that doctors report abortions and any complications or deaths resulting from the procedure to the state, and eliminate guidelines around the disposal of fetal remains.
It also would allow public funding, such as Medicaid, to cover all abortions, including those that are elective.
Removing these restrictions would be an offense to the long-standing protections Michigan taxpayers have had from having to pay for elective abortions.
It’s not a policy Michigan voters were informed of during the Prop 3 campaign, nor one they necessarily support.
Democratic lawmakers have made it clear that parental notification is the next regulation on the chopping block, should this legislation pass. Again, that was something Whitmer specifically said she would not back.
The Legislature also must deal with reinstalling limits on late-term abortions.
There may be provisions of the legislation that make sense, and any provisions that are clearly punitive should be removed piecemeal.
Passing this bill package would make Michigan one of the most permissive states for abortion in the country. That’s not what Michigan residents were told they were voting for when they passed Prop 3.
Iron Mountain Daily News. September 19, 2023.
Editorial: State: Watch for counterfeit child safety seats for cars
It’s disappointing — but perhaps not surprising — that some will try to make a buck by selling substandard equipment considered crucial for keeping children safer in motor vehicles.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning warned this week about a rise in the sale of counterfeit car seats online.
As part of Child Passenger Safety Week this week, the MDHHS and OHSP have offered guidance to ensure buyers are purchasing car seats that will better protect a child during a crash, including tips on how to identify counterfeit seats and verify the seat purchased meets U.S. regulations and safety standards.
“Parents and gift givers are purchasing seats from online deal sites, sometimes with high-end price tags,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “Even parents that do extensive research can be easily fooled by these unsafe lookalikes or tricked into purchasing car seats that do not meet U.S. regulations or safety standards.”
OHSP Director Katie Bower added, “Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for young children, and properly restrained children have a greater chance of surviving a crash. Counterfeit car seats are made of cheaper, flimsier materials that are unable to withstand the forces that occur in a crash.”
The state advised that parents and caregivers look for these red flags when shopping for a car seat:
— Missing mandatory information, including minimum and maximum height and weight in English, model name and number and date of manufacturing labeled clearly on the seat.
— Missing this statement on at least one label: “This child restraint system conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.
— Foreign languages on the label that do not include English.
— The product did not come with a car seat manual and/or a registration recall card.
— No five-point harness with chest clip (except for booster seats).
Other advice includes —
Confirming it’s legal and safe
Individuals who purchase a car seat that has any of the red flags can find additional ways to confirm it is legal and safe for use:
– Find the label with the car seat manufacturer’s name, address and phone number and contact them directly about the seat.
— Get the car seat inspected by a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.
— Verify the car seat is on the American Academy of Pediatrics 2023 Car Seat Product List.
Return and report
Individuals who receive an unsafe car seat are asked to let the retailer know and return it. If the return does not require the car seat to be sent back, discard the seat by removing the padding and cutting the harness straps. Do not donate the car seat. Unsafe car seats should also be reported to these governmental agencies:
— National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — Use an online form or call 888-327-4236.
— Consumer Product Safety Commission — Go to SaferProducts.gov or call 800-638-2772.
— U.S. Department of Commerce — Notify this federal agency in addition to reporting to NHTSA at STOPfakes.gov.
Secondhand car seats
The state recommends those considering a secondhand car seat follow the checklist below to determine if it should be used:
— The seat has never been involved in a moderate to severe crash.
— The seat has labels stating date of manufacture and model number. This information is needed to find out if any recall has been issued or if the seat is too old.
— The seat has no recalls. If a recall is found, contact the manufacturer, as some problems can be fixed.
— The seat has all its parts. If the seat is missing a part, contact the manufacturer, as some parts can be ordered.
— The seat has its instruction book. The instruction manual also can be ordered from the manufacturer.
For more information, contact a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.
Mining Journal. September 19, 2023.
Editorial: It’s important for young people to get out and vote
The greatest thing about our country is that we the people have a say in how our government works.
Despite what seems to be an endless amount of political activity on television and the internet, voting seems to be a right that not enough Upper Peninsula residents take advantage of the privilege, but that seems to be changing.
The trend is pretty similar nationwide. The U.S. Census bureau notes that 52% of registered voters across the country cast a ballot in the 2022
Recent midterm election cycles in Marquette County have also increased, according to an article published in The Mining Journal in November.
There are currently 54,769 registered voters in Marquette County, according to the Michigan Voter Information Center. The number of voters increased to nearly 32,000 in 2022, the 2014 midterm saw nearly 10,000 less, with 22,591. That’s a good sign, because its hard to fathom less than half of the county’s registered voters bothered to cast a ballot.
Elections are important, and the upward trend in voter turnout is a great sign. But at the same time, we need to help our next generation of voters take part in the process.
Marquette Senior High School student Lily Dixon pointed out her own statistic in a Mining Journal article published on Monday.
She says young people feel they don’t have a say in American politics, but according to a Washington Post statistic, Gen Z and millennials are expected to make up nearly 40% of the U.S. electorate in the 2024 presidential election.
Dixon asked Gov. Gretchen Whitmer how political parties can engage those young voters. Whitmer responded by saying government needs to “level the barriers” that make it harder for young people to vote.
“It wasn’t true in all parts of this country, but in Michigan, young voters made their voices heard and in incredible numbers,” Whitmer said of the 2022 election. Seeing people on campuses waiting in line because you could actually register and vote all in one day meant it was a little more cumbersome, but they stayed because it was an important election. It was about fundamental rights, it was about climate change, it was about gun violence, it was about good jobs and I think that’s why it’s so important that young people are voting,”
We agree, barriers need to be leveled for all voters. We also note that voters should have the right to choose how and when they vote.
It’s also about educating voters about the difference between fact and opinion, between legitimate information and marketing.
In the short time Dixon was with Gov. Whitmer, she was able to get sound advice from an experienced politician and public leader.
Not only did Whitmer encourage younger residents to vote, she also wants that generation to step up to the plate to serve in the political arena.
“Your generation has the biggest at stake. You are going to live with these policies for the longest out of any of us and that’s why you should run for office,” Whitmer said.
In any case, we echo Whitmer’s message to young people to get involved in the political arena in some way — and most importantly, vote. Nobody knows what you want unless you ask for it.