Progress Michigan slams Democratic anti-abortion conference

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    The liberal group Progress Michigan on Friday blasted a national anti-choice group meeting in East Lansing for representing what it called the “height of hypocrisy.”

    The Democrats for Life of America conference is being held Friday through Sunday at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at Michigan State University.

    “It is our belief that the right to a safe legal abortion is non-negotiable and we will call out anyone — no matter their party affiliation — who attempts to take that right away,” said Sam Inglot, deputy director of Progress Michigan. “You can’t claim to stand for freedom like the Democrats for Life do while trying to deny access to safe abortions. You cannot claim to support access to health care while supporting the defunding of health centers that provide reproductive and other health care services to communities across Michigan.”

    Pro-choice rally pushes back against abortion bans

    As of this morning, Progress Michigan said it had collected 825 signatures from people who oppose the event. Inglot said Progress Michigan will email their petition signatures to Democrats for Life of America. 

    Scheduled speakers, according to the Democrats for Life of America website, include: Monica Sparks, Kent County commissioner and board member of Michigan Democrats for Life; Mark Brewer, former Michigan Democratic Party chair and past chair of the Association of State Democratic Chairs; former U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Menominee); and Kenneth Darga, Michigan chapter president of Democrats for Life.

    Mark Brewer

    Brewer, who is pro-choice, told the Advance before the conference that issues like health care, child care, minimum wage and environmental justice also are important issues to consider. 

    “My mission and my goal is to persuade them to broaden their agenda,” Brewer said. 

    Inglot also criticized Democrats for Life of America for supporting Planned Parenthood defunding and advocating for a 20-week abortion ban.

    “These are the exact attacks, perpetuated by conservatives and anti-abortion extremists in Michigan, Congress and across the country who seek the end reproductive health care and send us back to the dark ages,” he said.  

    Cayley Winters, Progress Michigan’s west Michigan communications organizer, added that “abortion restrictions are not about medical necessity. Anti-abortion rhetoric is not about saving or improving lives. These are dangerous messages that are stripping people of their rights, their autonomy.”

    Ken Coleman
    Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.

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