Stories you won’t see anywhere else: The Advance’s best reporting on reproductive rights

About 500 people attended the Ann Arbor rally | Ken Coleman

Quotable of the Year:

“I think so many of these decisions are made in a vacuum with a bunch of men sitting around a table and deciding what a woman’s rights should be, what our access to health care should be — trying to control women by controlling our bodies.”

— Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Susan J. Demas graphic

In the last days of 2019, the Advance is running a series of our best stories from a few of the many issues we cover, from the environment to the 2020 election. With more than 2,000 stories to choose from, it was hard to pare the list down.

Here’s our roundup of our top reproductive rights stories:

In the midst of tense budget negotiations, state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) sounded off against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and pro-choice advocates, comparing abortion to slavery.

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

President Donald Trump went all in on the big lie on infanticide in an attempt to lock down conservative support in 2020.

Susan J. Demas: Trump’s dehumanizing abortion lie is about bringing home the base for 2020

Former NICU nurse Julia Pulver, who’s now running for the state House, fired back at Trump on Twitter explaining the painful process that families undergo after a terminally ill baby is born.

Michigan NICU nurse Julia Pulver’s tweets on Trump’s abortion lie go viral

The Advance talked to the new national head of Planned Parenthood, Alexis McGill Johnson, about reports over internal strategy disagreements, the flood of legislation to challenge Roe v. Wade and anti-abortion petition drives in Michigan.

New Planned Parenthood president dismisses reports on internal strife, talks efforts combatting Michigan anti-abortion initiatives

The Advance broke the story in January about a complaint filed against an anti-abortion group for allegedly wasting state funding. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer later vetoed funding for Real Alternatives in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget.

Breaking: Watchdog org. filing complaint against anti-abortion group with state contract

The Advance broke the story about Michigan joining a multi-state lawsuit to fight the President Trump administration’s “gag rule” regarding birth control.

Breaking: Michigan joins suit against Trump administration over Title X ‘gag rule’

Attorney General Dana Nessel said at a Planned Parenthood conference this spring that she believes Roe v. Wade will be overturned. Even though that would criminalize abortion in Michigan, she vowed she won’t prosecute women for having abortions, spurring Shirkey to threaten impeachment (upon which he never acted).

Nessel: Roe v. Wade will be overturned, won’t prosecute women for abortions

During Right to Life lobby Day, the GOP-controlled Legislature passed bills banning a common second trimester abortion procedure. Shortly after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she’d veto the legislation, the anti-abortion group launched a petition drive and turned in signatures this week.

Republicans pass abortion ban on Right to Life lobby day

Will you get to vote on one or two anti-abortion measures next year? Probably not. Under a quirk in Michigan law, the Legislature can adopt ballot measures — and the governor is powerless to stop them. It’s a technique Right to Life has used time and time again.

Susan J. Demas: Tyranny of the 3%: How abortion law gets made in Michigan

And Pulver wrote an explainer for the Advance on biology and abortion procedures, given the vast amount of misinformation that’s part of the political debate.

Julia Pulver: Abortion 101: Because our lawmakers need a refresher

Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.