02.06.24 (PRESS RELEASE) – Today, the Center for Reproductive Rights, on behalf of Northland Family Planning Centers and Medical Students for Choice, filed a case in the Michigan Court of Claims challenging three abortion restrictions. The case asserts that the three abortion restrictions violate Michigan’s Reproductive Freedom for All constitutional amendment (RFFA) passed on November 8, 2022. The RFFA is among the broadest guarantees of reproductive freedom in the nation.
“Through the RFFA, Michigan voters overwhelmingly declared that they will not tolerate paternalistic and medically baseless restrictions on abortion like those we are challenging in this case,” said Rabia Muqaddam, senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “With this lawsuit, we hope to eliminate these harmful restrictions and ensure the state’s laws reflect the will of Michigan voters.”
In light of the RFFA, the Michigan legislature repealed some abortion restrictions in its last legislative session, but retained some of those that are most burdensome on patients:
- A law mandating that abortion patients wait a minimum of 24 hours after receiving biased counseling materials before they can access care.
- A law forcing clinicians to dispense and patients to consume biased counseling before and after the 24-hour waiting period. The counseling materials include information that is irrelevant, inaccurate, and stigmatizing.
- A prohibition on qualified advanced practice clinicians (APCs) providing abortion care. APCs are permitted to administer the same medications and procedures for patients experiencing early miscarriage.
The lawsuit argues that these restrictions violate the RFFA by imposing medically unjustified restrictions on abortion, singling out abortion care for uniquely onerous treatment, and discriminating against Michiganders who already face health inequities, including Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC), low-income communities, and people in rural areas of the state.
“Every day, and especially since Roe was overturned, our providers and clinic staff work tirelessly to meet the needs of both Michigan residents and out-of-state patients,” said Renee Chelian, executive director of Northland Family Planning Centers. “Despite our win with Proposal 3, patients continue to face onerous barriers to care imposed by Michigan law. These barriers should not exist under the RFFA.”
“Every time our student members train to provide abortion care under prohibitive regulations that are contrary to the standard of care, like those in Michigan, MSFC has to fill the gap to ensure that they learn the best evidence-based practices,” said Pamela Merritt, executive director of Medical Students for Choice. “Tomorrow’s abortion providers studying in Michigan should be able to train in an environment that supports evidence-based medicine and preserves patient autonomy and the clinician-patient relationship.”
Center for Reproductive Rights: [email protected]