Shirkey offers no apology for comparing abortion to slavery in radio interview

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey at the Mackinac Policy Conference, May 30, 2019 | Andrew Roth

In a recent radio interview, Michigan’s Senate GOP leader compared the “scourge” of abortion to slavery – and he’s not backing down from the comparison.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) made the comments on Radio Free Hillsdale 101.7 FM on during a Monday discussion about Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s push to expand abortion access to women in Michigan. The interview was uploaded to Shirkey’s YouTube channel.

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“I believe the rampant acceptance of unfiltered and unregulated abortion, or, frankly, allowing abortion to occur at all, is the scourge of our country now, today. In my mind, it’s comparable – and people are going to be very upset when I say this – but it is comparable to the scourge we endured when we still had slavery in this country. It is no less a scourge today than…slavery was then,” Shirkey told radio host Scot Bertram.

When asked whether Shirkey stands by his statements, spokesperson Amber McCann wrote in an email: “Senator Shirkey believes there is no room for compromise on the issue of abortion and that the fervor from those on both sides of the issue has the potential to be destructive to our country.”

In the radio interview, Shirkey criticized Democratic efforts to reverse anti-abortion legislative efforts in the state. He said he is greatly concerned that Michigan voters could erase years of Republican work to dial back abortion access in just one election, if voters make the wrong call. 

“Voters aren’t prudent,” Shirkey said.

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Shirkey and Whitmer have long clashed, with the Republican pulling out of a budget deal Thursday and his spokeswoman calling the governor “untrustworthy” in a scrum with reporters. Earlier in the year, Shirkey advised that Whitmer’s executive directive on equal pay could be “ignored” and should not be taken seriously as a legal requirement.