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Democrat defection could jeopardize abortion law repeal

A Democratic lawmaker dealt abortion rights supporters a surprise Wednesday when she announced she won’t support legislation to repeal many abortion restrictions in Michigan.

Democrats lost a key vote when Detroit Representative Karen Whitsett opposed the bills in committee. That makes it a lot harder to get to the 56 votes needed to pass a bill in the closely divided House. Amber McCann is the press secretary for House Speaker Joe Tate. McCann says this is a complication but expects the bills will pass.

“I think there have been many issues that have come before the House that the Speaker has been successful in getting successful in getting 56 votes for.”

Abortion rights supporters say these repeals are needed for state laws to align with the reproductive rights amendment approved overwhelmingly approved last year by voters.