I hope that everyone is staying cool and hydrated while we welcome the official start of summer! Last week, we celebrated Juneteenth on June 19 in commemoration of the day freedom finally reached an enslaved community in the U.S. following the Civil War. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers delivered the news of the Emancipation Proclamation, which occurred two years prior to the end of the war, to a community of enslaved people living in Galveston, Texas, sparking an annual tradition in African-American communities around the country. Juneteenth celebrations first consisted of rallies that included the singing of spirituals and sermons that championed racial uplift. It is a day of joy, a day to celebrate the generational fight for liberation. I had the honor of joining Canton Township’s first-annual Juneteenth Celebration, and I look forward to next year’s!
On Sunday, June 19, we also celebrated Father’s Day to honor the men who have embraced the role of fatherhood. Father’s Day is celebrated annually in the United States, on the third Sunday of June. On this day, we recognize, appreciate and celebrate the fathers and father figures who help lift us up and shape our lives for the better. We thank you for your sacrifices and hope you had a great Father’s Day!
In the Michigan state legislature, the start of summer signals the start of an in-district work period and a break from legislative session and committees. Due to the decrease in legislative activity over the summer months, the next e-newsletter will not come out until August. My office will continue to be available at RanjeevPuri@house.mi.gov for any constituent requests or concerns. Additionally, you can follow my social media pages for updates on what we are up to.
As always, if our office can ever be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to reach out.
State Representative, 21st District
Proudly serving Belleville, Canton and Van Buren Township
In this Edition:
- Upcoming Paternity Leave
- Roe v. Wade Overturned & Abortion Access in Michigan
- Executive Update
- Legislative Update
- What We’ve Been Up To
UPCOMING PATERNITY LEAVE
As many of you know, my wife Nidhi and I are awaiting the arrival of our son any day now!
New additions for a family bring tremendous joy and excitement. As your state representative, and as a father, it is my belief that everyone, regardless of gender, should have access to paid family and medical leave. A growing body of evidence makes clear that paid family leave has a positive impact on both children and parents, families’ economic security, employers, and taxpayers. This is why I plan to lead by example and take leave when our baby arrives.
As my family prepares for our new arrival, my staff and I are working hard in Lansing preparing for my leave.
While we work out the details of my paternity leave, please know that my office will remain fully operational in assisting constituents with their needs in the coming weeks and months. My staff will continue to work with me in response to constituent requests and concerns, send out e-newsletters and provide other information via social media. Please check back with us soon for updates.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reach out to my office at RanjeevPuri@house.mi.gov.
ROE V. WADE OVERTURNED & ABORTION ACCESS IN MICHIGAN
Friday, the United States Supreme Court voted 6-3 to overturn Roe vs. Wade, undoing 50 years of precedent and striking down the constitutional right to abortion. The Court’s ruling follows the draft opinion that became public this May and will allow states to pass extreme or total abortion bans. Michigan already has a near-total abortion ban on the books from 1931 that makes most abortion a felony with no exception for rape or incest.
This decision is wrong and will harm millions of people. We should all be able to make the personal health care decisions that impact our lives, health and futures. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a shattering blow to the right to access abortion in the U.S., leaving even more people struggling to access the essential health care they need.
People across the U.S. will still need abortion care — but the Supreme Court’s decision will embolden anti-abortion politicians to push for the nationwide total ban on abortion they’ve wanted all along.
Decades of attacks left abortion rights hanging by a thread in the U.S. Last week, that thread was cut, but we are not yet defeated. We will keep fighting until every person, no matter where we live, how much money we make, or what we look like, has the freedom to make our own decisions about our lives and futures.
On June 24, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The Center for Reproductive Rights and its partners filed the case in March 2018 on behalf of Jackson Women’s Health Organization — the last abortion clinic in Mississippi — to block the state’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy just hours after Gov. Phil Bryant signed the ban into law. A federal district court granted emergency relief, blocking enforcement of the ban.
The ban (H.B. 1510) violates Supreme Court precedent, established in Roe v. Wade and reaffirmed as recently as 2020 in June Medical Services v. Russo, that a state may not ban abortion before viability.
In its 6-3 opinion, the Supreme Court ruled to not only uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban but also to overturn its decisions in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey entirely. This means that abortion is no longer a constitutionally protected right in the United States, and the Supreme Court has turned the issue of abortion access back to the states to decide.
What This Means for the Country
The Court’s decision will likely lead to half of U.S. states immediately taking action to ban abortion outright, forcing people to travel hundreds and thousands of miles to access abortion care or to carry pregnancies against their will, a violation of their human rights.
The Supreme Court is taking away the right to abortion, leaving people unable to access care and denying us our right to make our own decisions about our lives and futures.
The impact of this decision will cause disproportionate harm to people of color, women, those living on lower incomes, young people, immigrants and members of the LGBTQI+ community.
Implications for Other Cases
Abortion access is one of several fundamental rights under attack in the U.S., including our right to vote, racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights and a host of other rights intertwined with our right to liberty in which Roe v. Wade was grounded. This decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization puts those other rights at risk.
Roe v. Wade was fundamental in establishing the right to privacy under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. Cases such as Griswold v. Connecticut (established married couple’s right to contraception), Lawrence v. Texas (overturned sodomy bans) and Obergefell v. Hodges (established the right to same-sex marriage) were all decided on the basis of the right to privacy. In the Supreme Court opinion on Dobbs, Justice Clarence Thomas explicitly named those cases as ones to potentially reevaluate, meaning those rights could also be lost, among many others in the future.
What This Means for Michigan and the Path Forward
Under the standing 1931 law , Michigan would become one of twenty-two states with an existing abortion ban on the books. However, in May of 2022, a Michigan judge issued a temporary injunction blocking the law and preventing it from being enforced. This means that, as of today, ABORTION IS STILL LEGAL IN MICHIGAN. Abortion funds, clinics and support networks are here to help you. Do not cancel your appointments, and if you need care, please reach out to a provider immediately.
Please know that I am working diligently with other state officials to ensure the right to an abortion remains protected. Last year, Michigan House and Senate Democrats introduced the Michigan Reproductive Health Act (House Bills 5542–5548) which would guarantee individuals’ freedom to make decisions about their own reproductive health, including having an abortion.
Michigan Democrats are trying to repeal the 1931 ban through the legislative process, but we simply don’t have the numbers. No matter the outcome of the state rulings about the constitutionality and enforcement of the 1931 abortion ban, state Republicans will continue to attack reproductive rights through the courts and use shady tactics like including abortion bans in must-pass legislation in order to push their extreme agenda through.
Additionally, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Planned Parenthood have recently filed separate lawsuits asking the Michigan Supreme Court to recognize the constitutional right to an abortion under the Due Process Clause of the Michigan Constitution. Attorney General Dana Nessel has also indicated that she would not enforce the 1931 ban.
There is also a ballot initiative underway, Reproductive Freedom for All, that is pushing for a constitutional amendment that would explicitly affirm Michigan an individual’s rights to “reproductive freedom.” The petition group must collect at least 425,059 valid signatures before July 11 to place the measure on the November ballot for voter approval. For more information on this ballot initiative, click here.
Democrats in Michigan are deploying every strategy we have to make sure abortion is legal and accessible. We’re fighting in the courtroom, in the legislature, and in the streets.
Michigan isn’t backing down in the fight for abortion rights.
Protecting abortion access is in lock-step with Michigan voters. Over 2/3 of Michigan voters want to keep Roe in place. As your state representative, I will continue to fight to ensure all Michiganders have access to safe medical care and ensure we empower them to determine if, when, and how to pursue a pregnancy.
Educating Michiganders on Access to No-Cost Contraception
In light of the Supreme Court decision regarding abortion, Gov. Whitmer, along with the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS), launched a new consumer website in an effort to help Michigan women understand insurance coverage for contraception.
Contraception is widely used to treat medical conditions as well as for family planning purposes for people who do not wish to become pregnant or those for whom pregnancy may pose a medical risk. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), non-exempt health plans must provide, with no out-of-pocket cost, at least one type of each of the 18 contraceptive methods currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as prescribed to women by a health care provider.
For information about low- or no-cost reproductive health services provided by the State of Michigan, visit the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Family Planning Program website.
Rep. Puri Gets First Bill Signed Into Law by Gov. Whitmer – Bill Package Expanding Access to Quality, Affordable Childcare for Families
I am proud to have sponsored House Bill 5044. HB 5044 expands access to child care for infants and toddlers by requiring the Michigan Department of Education to establish family childcare networks in every region of the state to support home-based childcare providers equitably. For more information on the remainder of the bills in the package, as well as what they will do for Michiganders, visit here for the governor’s press release on the package.
Signing these bills into law is a win for young and working families across Michigan. Increasing accessibility and affordability of childcare helps millions of Michiganders, especially working mothers who have been unable to return to the workforce following the pandemic. The bills will not only benefit working families but our economy also. I’m thrilled to continue the work that lies ahead to ensure every Michigander has access to the quality child care they need.
House GOP Calls for Stricter Federal Immigration Policy
Last week, the Michigan House of Representatives passed a resolution, HR 290, that urges President Joe Biden “to reject radical open border policies and to enforce our nation’s immigration laws.” The resolution passed 65-39. I voted no on this resolution.
This resolution does not offer any solutions to our nation’s outdated immigration policies and, instead, contains inflammatory language of a partisan political nature. Immigrants advance our economy rather than hinder it. And safe, efficient, legal immigration is a hallmark of American society. Continued attacks on immigrants harm our communities.
As the son of immigrants, I have seen the possibility of the American Dream come true when you work hard and are given a fair shot. I believe that the recent rise in migrants coming to the southern U.S. border speaks to that Dream still being alive around the world.
I share concerns that many U.S. border facilities are housing migrants in less-than-ideal conditions, and I would like to see more humanity in our country’s response to these families searching for a better life. I also support ensuring that all people, including essential workers, farmworkers, Dreamers and TPS holders, have a pathway to citizenship.
WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO
Dad Watermelon Challenge
On June 15, in support of and sympathy and solidarity with my 9-months pregnant wife, I took on the Dad #WatermelonChallenge. I carried around a watermelon in 100 degree weather as I went about my day at the Capitol and our District, getting work done in the office and attending House session and a number of events in the District.
I recognize that this “challenge” does not even come close to the physical, mental and emotional toll a pregnancy takes on a woman. I have seen firsthand with my wife through three pregnancies now how difficult a pregnancy can be. I know that I did not even graze the surface. What I can say, for what it was worth, is that I have a newfound appreciation for the triumphs expecting mothers have to go through everyday.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
Our office is always here to answer any questions, concerns or listen to any thoughts you have on any particular issue. The best way to reach us is by email at RanjeevPuri@house.mi.gov. Our team is working hard to respond to every email and voicemail left with our office in a timely manner. We appreciate your patience as we experience increased communications!
We also hope you will join us for upcoming coffee hours so that we can meet and I can hear what is on your mind.