Governor Whitmer Takes Steps to Protect Abortion Providers and Patients
(State of Michigan, July 13, 2022)
Lansing, MI -Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order refusing to extradite women who come to Michigan seeking reproductive health care. It also protects providers of legal abortion in Michigan, who will not have to fear being extradited for prosecution in another state for offering reproductive health care.
Currently, there are laws and legislative proposals across the country supported by the GOP that would make it felony for a woman to seek abortion care, and for a doctor to provide it. If enacted, women and doctors could face jail time. Proposals also exist to punish a woman who decides to cross state lines to obtain an abortion. In Michigan, a proposal exists to imprison health care providers for up to 10 years if they help a woman get an abortion. The GOP legislature is also in court defending Michigan’s 1931 near total abortion ban that does not include exceptions for rape or incest.
The majority of women who seek abortion care are mothers already, trying to take care of the children they already have.
“After the overturn of Roe v Wade and the ensuing implementation of a series of extreme bans on abortion that criminalize women and medical professionals across the country, visitors to Michigan must know that they can access reproductive health care within our borders without fear of extradition. That is why I signed an executive order today refusing to cooperate with out-of-state law enforcement seeking to punish women for seeking health care,” said Governor Whitmer. “ I will stand up for all women, even if their local and statewide leaders refuse to. Michigan must remain a place where a person’s basic rights are preserved. In this existential moment for fundamental rights, it is incumbent on every elected official who believes that health—not politics—should guide medical decisions to take bold action. ”
The executive order can be viewed by clicking here.
Governor Whitmer’s Actions to Protect Reproductive Freedom
- 4/7: Filed a lawsuit to ask the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately resolve whether Michigan’s constitution protects the right to an abortion. This legal action against the 1931 law represents the first time a governor has filed a lawsuit to protect the right to an abortion since the release of the leaked draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson.
- 4/7: Penned an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press explaining her action and highlighting that 7 in 10 Michiganders support the rights affirmed by Roe.
- 5/3: Joined 16 other states to urge the United States Senate to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act and enshrine Roe’s protections in federal law.
- 5/9: Penned an op-ed in the New York Times explaining why she isn’t waiting for Congress to act and urging fellow pro-choice governors, state representatives, private businesses, and citizens to take action to protect reproductive rights.
- 5/25: Signed an executive directiveinstructing state of Michigan departments and agencies to identify and assess opportunities to increase protections for reproductive healthcare, such as contraception. The executive directive also instructs departments not to cooperate with or assist authorities of any state in any investigation or proceeding against anyone for obtaining, providing, or assisting someone else to obtain or provide reproductive healthcare that is legal where the health care is provided.
- 6/23: Launched a new consumer websiteto educate Michiganders about the availability of no-cost contraception with most insurance plans.
- 6/24: On the day of the Dobbs decision, filed a motion urging the Court to immediately consider her lawsuit.
- 6/27: Followed up with an additional notice to the Court urging them to immediately consider her lawsuit.
- 6/29: Sent a letter to Michigan’s insurers urging them to take steps to ensure Michiganders have coverage for reproductive health care to the fullest extent possible under current coverage.
- 7/6: Joined with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to launch a public effort to educate Michiganders and health care providers about the difference between emergency contraception and medication abortion. The public effort will disseminate information about the differences between medication abortion and emergency contraception to all local health departments throughout Michigan, healthcare providers throughout the state, and the public.
- 7/7: Called on the federal government to clarify and protect Michiganders’ right to cross the US-Canada border to seek reproductive health care or prescription medication including medication abortion.
- 7/11: Urged President Biden to make birth control available over the counter without a prescription.