Today, the Center for Reproductive Rights asked a district court judge to block a Michigan law that could limit women's access to reproductive health care and put abortion clinics out of business. Scheduled to take effect on March 31, the new law prevents abortion providers from obtaining prompt payment for medical services that have already been provided to women. If permitted to take effect, the law will cause health care providers to delay or cease providing medical services such as pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, physical exams and consultations, even though women need these services in order to make an informed decision about how to proceed with their pregnancy.
"No other health clinics in the state are subject to this law, which was clearly designed to limit women's access to reproductive health care and make it difficult for abortion providers to stay in business," said Bebe Anderson, staff attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights and lead counsel on the case. "This law is so vague that it makes it impossible for providers to understand or comply with these unconstitutional regulations," added Anderson.
In seeking to have the law declared unconstitutional, the Center for Reproductive Rights is charging that the law is vague and infringes on equal protection rights by treating reproductive health care providers and their patients differently from other medical service providers and their patients. Physicians and clinics who provide abortions are left not knowing how to comply with the new law because the provisions impose confusing and contradictory requirements, putting them at risk of fines and loss of license. The Center asked the court to preliminarily block the law until the case can be decided on the merits.
The Center for Reproductive Rights filed the case on behalf of several Michigan reproductive health care providers located throughout the state.
Bebe J. Anderson of the Center for Reproductive Rights and local cooperating attorney David A. Nacht of Ann Arbor represent the plaintiffs in Northland Family Planning Clinic, Inc. v. Olszewski. Plaintiffs include Northland Family Planning Clinic, Inc., Northland Family Planning Clinic, Inc. - West, Northland Family Planning Clinic, Inc. - East, Womancare of Southfield, P.C., Womancare of Macomb, P.C., Womancare of Flint, P.C., Womancare of Lansing, P.C., Womancare of Livonia, P.C., Womancare of Downriver, P.C., Summit Medical Center, Inc., Scottsdale Women's Center, and Marshall D. Levine, M.D. The defendants are the Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health and the Chair of the Michigan Board of Medicine.