Continued forward momentum marks new era in Michigan reproductive rights for all

LANSING, Mich., Dec. 11, 2023 — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the primary Reproductive Health Act (RHA) bill, House Bill 4949, into law today. The RHA bill package together quashes medically unnecessary and politically motivated barriers that hinder access to abortion care. This bill bookends what has been a monumental year for Democratic-led legislation to guarantee reproductive rights in Michigan.

“Every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which includes the right to make and effectuate decisions about continuing or terminating a pregnancy; my bill signed into law today secures that right. Additionally, this legislation repeals the requirement that additional abortion riders be purchased to guarantee insurance coverage, a law rooted in misogyny and cruelty,” said House Speaker Pro Tem Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia), chair of the Progressive Women’s Caucus and sponsor of HB 4949. “People deserve to receive accessible, safe abortion care so they can truly make personal decisions without government interference or systematically enforced stigmas. I am humbled by the work that has taken place by so many to get these bills across the finish line, and I am proud of the many barriers we have and will continue to break down.”

“The right to define your family and your future is a fundamental right. Protecting that right and reproductive freedom for every Michigander to make their own medical decisions is an example of good people-driven policy,” said Speaker of the House Joe Tate (D-Detroit). “The voters wanted stronger policies in place to protect people’s bodily autonomy while they seek the care they need without the fear of breaking the law. We listened to what Michiganders wanted, and Democrats delivered.”

After the Dobbs United States Supreme Court decision, Michigan voters spoke loud and clear in approving Proposal 3 by a 13-point margin, guaranteeing the right to make personal reproductive health decisions, including abortion. House Bill 4006, which decriminalized abortion care by repealing the criminal 1931 abortion ban, was signed into law on April 5th. To eliminate further bureaucratic red tape, the Reproductive Health Act was introduced, and most of the bills were signed on Nov. 22.

“Each person has the right to make decisions about their own body, informed by their individual beliefs and needs. The RHA strengthens these protections to ensure Michiganders can access that right,” said state Rep. Natalie Price (D-Berkley), Progressive Women’s Caucus secretary. “I am grateful that this legislation reflecting the will of Michigan voters is now officially law.”

“Michigan voters sent a clear message about women’s right to bodily autonomy. With the Reproductive Health Act signed into law we not only listened, but delivered,” said state Rep. Kristian Grant (D-Grand Rapids). “Politicians have no place in these personal, private decisions. I look forward to continuing the work to further protect our fundamental rights where a woman can make the decision that is best for her.”

As Republican lawmakers and anti-choice organizations are trying to dismantle these rights through litigation, House Democrats are dedicated to ensuring people have the reproductive rights they want and deserve.