New Reproductive Health Act Takes Effect in Michigan

Nick Youngson, Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED

This week, Michigan’s new Reproductive Health Act (RHA) took effect. The passing of the legislation, which was signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer last November, comes after Michigan’s success during the 2022 election cycle, where voters passed a historic measure to enshrine the right to reproductive freedom in the state’s constitution. 

What is RHA? 

The Reproductive Health Act repeals legislation that required the purchase of a medical insurance rider to access abortion, with no exceptions for rape or incest. An insurance rider is an additional cost to basic insurance coverage. Purchasing a rider adds a huge financial burden to someone seeking reproductive care. 

The repeal comes after a decades-long fight with Republicans that came to national attention in 2013 when Whitmer was Michigan’s Senate Minority Leader. In an emotional speech on the Senate floor, Whitmer bravely shared her own story of being raped in college — an emotional appeal to Republicans to block the legislation. At the time, they did not listen. However, as of 2023, Governor Whitmer was finally able to sign RHA into law. Now, reproductive rights have been emboldened not only in the Constitution but in actual practice as well. 

RHA also repealed a state law that prohibited healthcare services at Michigan Public Universities from providing information about their medical options, including abortion access. It repealed an outdated 1931 law that criminalized health care providers who prescribe medication abortion, including mifepristone, and it repealed laws in Michigan that restricted abortion clinics by requiring them to meet unnecessary building regulations. 

Now that RHA has taken effect, many harmful restrictions against abortion have been lifted. RHA repeals and updates the archaic legislation that previously existed in the state of Michigan. Since the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, the persecution of pregnant people and healthcare providers has been a nationwide issue. Enacting the Reproductive Health Act in Michigan is a big win for pro-abortion advocates everywhere. As Governor Whitmer said when she signed the legislation, the Reproductive Health Act “lowers costs for patients and providers and protects every Michigander’s constitutional right to make their own decisions about their own body.”

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