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Dems slam Shirkey’s comparison of abortion to slavery as ‘out of touch’

By: - November 12, 2019 4:53 pm

Sen. Erika Geiss | Nick Manes

Democratic lawmakers are hitting back at the “unfortunate remarks” made by state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) last week comparing abortion to slavery. 

Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, state Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) called on Shirkey to apologize and strongly condemned the remarks, made on a radio program, as offensive to both African Americans and to those who make a choice to have an abortion.

“I think it is incredibly out of touch for him to have made such incredibly insensitive remarks,” Geiss told reporters on the Senate floor. “Comparing anything to the atrocities of slavery and what that did to African families, to black families … it was incredibly out of touch.”

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) also condemned the comments and said the whole Senate Democratic caucus feels the same way. 

Amber McCann | Michael Gerstein photo

Shirkey has not apologized for the comments, which were first reported Friday by the Advance. Spokeswoman Amber McCann told reporters on Tuesday that Shirkey did not intend to cause offense with his remarks, but believes that the issue of abortion in the present is as contentious as slavery was during the Civil War era. 

“The Majority Leader believes that abortion as an issue is as contentious [as slavery], and that it has the ability to be extremely divisive to the union,” McCann said. 

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Nick Manes
Nick Manes

Nick Manes is a former Michigan Advance reporter, covering West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels.