CSG Fails Resolution to Give Students Free Rides to Abortions

On January 16, Central Student Government (CSG) indefinitely postponed a resolution calling on the Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS) to provide “safe, cost-free, and accessible rides to and from Planned Parenthood in Ann Arbor for all U-M students.”

As originally written, Assembly Resolution 13-032 (AR 13-032) pressed the university “to prioritize the safety and security of the U-M community and its students due to an increase in stationed aggressive pro-life protestors who seek to divert patients’ effort to seek reproductive healthcare.”

The resolution called for rides off campus to Planned Parenthood because “while University Health Services (UHS) provides access to medication abortions, they do not offer the full spectrum of reproductive health services, notably not providing abortion procedures.”

The defeat of AR 13-032 was a rare policy victory for pro-life students at U-M. CSG has historically been supportive of abortion access.

At the CSG meeting where AR 13-032 was discussed, seven students spoke against the resolution. Two alumni submitted written statements also in opposition. No one spoke in favor of AR 13-032. Alumna Emily O’Donnell argued that it would be wrong to force individuals who are morally opposed to abortion to fund the safe-ride program:

Students with different moral views should not have to have their money spent to provide women with abortions and not offering them to be cared for in their difficult situations. There are places that provide women and babies with care as they navigate difficult situations. The fact that you are not willing to fund that shows that the university is wrapped up in abortion.

According to the university’s fiscal year 2024 budget, 40 percent of U-M’s revenue outside Michigan Medicine comes from student tuition and fees. Seven percent comes from state appropriations, and a further 27 percent comes from sponsored programs, which include taxpayer-funded appropriations at the local, state, and federal levels.

LSA junior Frank Higgins said he was concerned DPSS was unequipped to run a safe-ride program:

The hospital security team is not a university-wide on-call ride service. It’s only for emergencies. Shuttles services are outsourced. These companies only offer services in a one-mile radius of campus. This proposal grossly [overestimates] the extent to which DPSS offers transportation. The officers need to be ready for victims of crime. . . . The idea that DPSS would be stretched thin by something that is unnecessary is frightening.

In response to community concerns, the phrase criticizing “aggressive pro-life protestors” was removed. CSG Rep. Stephanie Evangelista withdrew her endorsement of the resolution, stating, “I think we should encourage funding for reproductive services but without stretching a service so thin.” In the end, the resolution was indefinitely postponed without objection.

CSG Rep. Hope Techlin cosponsored the resolution. After its defeat, she told the Michigan Review she believes AR 13-032 “starts a conversation around how the University of Michigan can improve their health resources, not only in reproductive services but also the access students have to all medical services offered by the university.”

But some members of CSG are hesitant to support the idea. Rep. Jonathan Dunne told the Michigan Review he was concerned that the resolution “solely supports methods of abortion for pregnant mothers as opposed to other resources like pregnancy centers.”

It remains to be seen if or when CSG will take up the bill again.

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About Wade Vellky

Wade Vellky, the deputy editor of the Michigan Review, is a sophomore in LSA. Originally from Orange Township, Ohio, he previously attended the University of Wisconsin and Ohio State University.