Two weeks ago on January 12th, 2023, Senator Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) and the entire Senate Democratic Caucus introduced Senate Bill 2. SB 2 is Michigan’s first healthcare bill for the new 2023 session and aims to repeal the state’s 1931 Michigan law banning abortions. Immediately, after being introduced, SB 2 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health Policy where it awaits a hearing.
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This is not the first time a bill like this has been proposed. Last session, Sen. Geiss introduced the exact same bill, and Governor Whitmer issued a press release calling “on the legislature to send Senator Erika Geiss’ bill that repeals our nearly-century-old ban on abortion to my desk.” However, the bill never made it out of committee and consequently died as the session ended.
Abortion rights was one of the biggest issues facing voters in the November 2022 election as they were directly on the ballot. The ballot proposal 3 of 2022, the “Reproductive Freedom for All” petition, was an amendment to Michigan’s constitution to make sure every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom.
Voters passed Proposal 3 on November 8th, 2022, with 2,480,000 “yes” votes (57%) and 1,897,417 “no” votes (43%). The law took effect on December 23rd, 2022.
Due to Proposal 3’s passage, SB 2 can be viewed as a symbolic move forward for pro-choice health leaders and a deliverance of campaign promises. However, Senator Geiss wants to make sure Michigan’s laws are aligned with its constitution and that the 1931 law doesn’t come back.
“We still need to repeal the law. In the event that something happens to reverse [Michigan’s constitutional law], it doesn’t go back into effect,” Geiss told State of Reform. “It doesn’t become a zombie law, which is what the 1931 laws around abortion and women’s productive health [are] in Michigan.”
Under Proposal 3, the state cannot prosecute or take adverse action against anyone who had an abortion, miscarriage, or stillbirth. Additionally, the state cannot prosecute or take adverse action against anyone who aided or assisted a pregnant individual in their actions for an abortion, miscarriage, or stillbirth.
Furthermore, Proposal 3 makes sure that every individual has the right to reproductive freedom and pregnancy-related decisions, which include: prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion, miscarriage management, and infertility care.
Lastly, under Proposal 3, Michigan can still regulate abortions but only after the fetus is viable. The fetus is viable when there is a significant likelihood it can survive outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures.
However, if the pregnant individual needed an abortion to protect their life, physical health, or mental health, the state cannot prohibit that abortion. This judgment of fetus viability and patients’ health is based on the judgment of the attending healthcare professional and the facts of the case.