'I wanted to live': Michigan lawmaker shares abortion story following leaked Supreme Court draft

State Representative Christine Morse
Posted at 7:25 PM, May 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 19:55:41-04

(WXMI) — Leaked documents from the Supreme Court have millions wondering if landmark abortion legislation Roe v. Wade will be overturned.

The draft surfaced Monday and sparked debate and protest over changing abortion from federally held ruling to a decision made by individual states.

In Michigan, if Roe v. Wade were to be reversed, a ban from 1931 would go into effect making abortions a felony offense.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has stated she would not enforce the law, but that she could not order prosecutors at the county level to do the same.

Both Nessel and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have announced efforts to gen the ban removed.

Following that leak, women and men have been sharing their personal stories of abortion with the world, putting a face to the procedure and the impact it had on their lives.

Some of those stories are different from the narrative that first comes to mind when you think of abortion, including one West Michigan lawmaker's story.

Twelve years ago, now State Rep. Christine Morse faced a tough decision, one that was life or death.

"The best shot I had at life was by having an abortion, and so that is what I did," said Morse of the 61st House District.

Morse said she has been sharing her personal story for years.

"The more we share our stories, the more people will feel comfortable and understand that many people form every walk of life had had abortions," said Morse.

For her, it was a life-or-death situation.

"In 2011, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer called HER2+ was the type. A few days later, I found out I was pregnant," said Morse.

Her oncologist told her that her cancer was inoperable and she needed to undergo chemotherapy first.

The doctor added that before Herceptin, the main drug used to treat her cancer, was created, her cancer had a three-year survival rate.

"I already had three children and a husband, and I wanted to live," said Morse.

In her case, she says she needed it to save her life, but others have abortions for many other reasons. She called the leaked draft opinion upsetting.

"I just think for people to live a full life, they should have full dominion over their bodies, so the real problem is that we are telling people with uteruses that they don’t get to decide everything that absolutely happens with their body," said Morse.

On Wednesday, Michigan Democrats made a relatively rare decision to bring an abortion rights bill to the state's House floor.

The bill, known as the Reproductive Health Act, has been in the Health Policy Committee since November. Rep. Laurie Pohutsky, D–Livonia, filed a discharge motion to bring it to the floor for a vote.

Abortion Statistics in United States

Looking at abortion numbers in the United States, in 2019, there were 629,898 abortions reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those numbers were voluntarily provided from the majority of states, along with New York City and the District of Columbia.

In the same year, there were 11.4 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44.

Women in their 20s accounted for more than half of them at 56.9%.

According to the same CDC data, women aged 20 to 24 and 25 to 29 years of age accounted for the highest percentages of abortions, while adolescents under 15 and women ages 40 or above accounted for the lowest percentages of abortions.

In Michigan during 2019, there were 27,339 abortions with 5.2% of those obtained by out-of-state residents.

Those numbers break down to 14.6 per 1,000 women getting an abortion.

After abortion was legalized nationwide in 1973, the rate of reported abortions increased rapidly, reaching the highest levels in the 1980s, according to the CDC.

Since then, the CDC said numbers have decreased steadily and reached historic lows in 2017.