The legislature is back in session, with fewer than four months remaining before the year ends. With much to accomplish between now and then, our legislative team, with the help of volunteers and supporters from around the state, will be focusing much of their efforts on expanding access to abortion for everyone in Michigan.
Passage of the Reproductive Health Act will be a significant step toward that goal. We are confident that – with your help – it can be reached. There’s good reason to be optimistic.
Reacting to the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, Michiganders turned out voters en masse last November to protect abortion rights in our state. As part of a widespread effort spearheaded by the ACLU and fueled by grassroots fervor, voters amended the state Constitution to guarantee abortion remains legal in Michigan for generations to come.
That same election also saw voters sweep into office a majority, in both houses of the Legislature, that supports reproductive health care. Coupled with a governor who is of a like mind, that majority presents an opportunity that hasn’t been within reach for more than 40 years: the chance to make considerable progress in tearing down barriers, put up by anti-abortion politicians over the past several decades, intentionally designed to hinder abortion access.
* Senseless regulations that, instead of benefitting patients, drive up the cost of providing crucial health care, making it more expensive for the people who need it and the clinics who serve them, contributing to the dearth of providers in much of the state.
* Insurance bans that force nearly everyone to pay for abortions out of pocket, causing needless emotional and financial distress.
* Laws that require people to undergo a mandatory waiting period and review biased information before an abortion can be performed. As Clare Molnar, a pro-abortion activist we worked with to create an eye-opening video revealing the deep impact of restrictions, explains: These and similar laws add to the dangerous stigmatization of abortion.
Taken together, these and other laws do more than make it more difficult and costly for people to have an abortion. They also cost lives.
A Safer Future
States like Michigan that impose strict restrictions on access to reproductive health care needlessly imperil the wellbeing of their residents.
That is not a matter of opinion or conjecture. It is a disturbing fact that study after study has verified.
“On every indicator, pregnant people, women, and their children have healthier outcomes in states that are supportive of reproductive freedom,” the Gender Equity and Policy Institute reported in 2021. “Conversely, on every indicator, those who live in states that ban abortion or restrict reproductive and sexual health services have poorer outcomes and face grave risks…”
That report and others contributed to what ABC News described last December as a “growing body of evidence showing a link between more restrictive abortion policies and higher rates of maternal and infant mortality.”
We also know that these laws disproportionately affect that already face systemic barriers to accessing healthcare: Black and Indigenous people, and other people of color, young people, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, and people on low incomes. The encouraging news is that we are well-positioned to remove Michigan from the list of states that endanger public health by imposing unnecessary barriers to abortion care.
Knowing what’s at stake has fueled our commitment to making that happen.
The Time is Now
The fight to obtain reproductive freedom and justice has been going on for decades. It is vital that we take advantage of the opportunity in front of us, and make an all-out effort to repeal laws, put in place by anti-abortion politicians, that endanger the lives of Michiganders.
You can do your part by contacting lawmakers and telling them that efforts to repeal harmful laws restricting access to abortion enjoy strong support from residents across Michigan. A crucially important victory is within reach.
With your help, we can attain it. But we must act with urgency.
The clock is ticking.
Loren Khogali is executive director of the ACLU of Michigan.