Women’s Rights

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Fifth Estate # 92, November 13-26, 1969

In a concerted effort to reform the outdated Michigan abortion laws, Michigan Women for Medical Control of Abortion has launched an all-out action program. The program has been set up to involve as many people as possible in working for the medical control of abortion in Michigan.

“Until there is a concerted effort on the part of hundreds of Michigan women, the legislators will not make changes in our abortion laws,” said Mrs. John H. Tanton of Petosky, President of the state organization. Mrs. Tanton pointed out that in a recent test of the old California abortion law, which was similar to Michigan’s, the Supreme Court of that State recently reversed the abortion conviction of a California physician, ruling that the law was invalid “because it infringed on a woman’s right to privacy without legislative reason.”

The majority said that the law put physicians in a position where they had an adverse interest in the patient.

“This throws the entire legal status of Michigan’s abortion law into question,” said Mrs. Tanton.

She pointed out that the resolution recently passed by the Michigan Women for Medical Control of Abortion followed current trends of sociological and legal thought on the matter, and would release physicians from the dangers of criminal prosecution for performing abortions.

The Resolution states that “the present outdated Michigan Abortion law does not prevent illegal abortion, and in democratic, secular society, those who oppose abortion should not deny medical protection to those who do not oppose it.”

The group advocates “that abortion, as other medical problems, be handled by the medical profession and that licensed physicians be exempt from criminal prosecution when performing abortions in accredited hospitals licensed by the State.”

The Michigan Women’s group is urging all women and men who are interested, to circulate Resolution sheets, display bumper stickers and write letters or speak to the legislators.

Further information and materials may be obtained by writing Mrs. J.R. Davis, 5176 Echo Rd., Bloomfield Hills, 48103—or in Ann Arbor at 1521 Avondale. This action comes at a time when the State Senate Health Committee is studying two bills co-authored by Senators John E. McCauley and Gilbert E. Bursley which would alter Michigan’s present abortion law.

The present law calls for legal abortion only if the life of the mother is endangered. Twelve other states have recently passed liberalized abortion laws.

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