LANSING, Mich., Sept. 6, 2023 — Legislative session resumed today, and House Democrats did not waste time delivering on their promises and continuing to ensure Michiganders are receiving the health care they need and the reproductive freedoms they deserve. Speaker Pro Tempore Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia) and fellow legislators from both chambers held a roundtable today with stakeholders and experts focused on the importance of the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) and its companion legislation. House bills 4949-59 introduced today continue Democrats’ efforts toward reproductive health accessibility and affordability. 

“This term, we worked to restore and protect reproductive rights in Michigan by repealing the 1931 abortion ban in state law. But our work is not done, and we must continue to eliminate the barriers that hinder Michiganders’ access to essential health care with the Reproductive Health Act. The implementation of these bills is urgent to ensure medical avenues are open to access safe, legal abortion across Michigan,” said Pohutsky, chair of the Progressive Women’s Caucus. “This act was made with the help of policy experts and experts in the field, and we will eliminate Michigan’s medically unnecessary abortion restrictions and guarantee people are free to make their own health care decisions without political interference. These legislative barriers on abortion must be eliminated.”

The RHA bill package encompasses 11 bills. This legislation focuses on amending several areas of Michigan law that hinder access to reproductive health, such as the School Aid Act, the Public Health Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Pregnant and Parenting Student Service Act, the Occupational Code and several others. 

“As an attorney and representative, I know how important it is for statutes to be clearly and powerfully articulated, and sometimes changes must be made. I think we can all agree that criminal sentencing should not target an innocent individual. I also think many would agree that a woman making a reproductive health care choice that is right for her is not a crime to society. The mere threat of prosecution jeopardizes access to reproductive health care. Criminal sentencing guidelines must be amended,” state Rep. Kara Hope (D-Holt) said. “We must continue to eliminate the thick muck of restrictions in Michigan law on women’s reproductive health and access to abortion.”

“This bill package has many moving parts to bring equity to reproductive health,” said state Rep. Kristian Grant (D-Grand Rapids). “My sponsored bill, HB 4959, expands insurance coverage of reproductive health care for those with Medicaid coverage. It is important that we take the steps that we promised and continue to eliminate barriers for those who seek all options of reproductive health. To deny coverage is to deny access, and to deny access is to deny choice. Health insurance throughout the state should provide a wide variety of reproductive health care, especially since abortion is legal in the state.”

“A huge part of child development in schools is teaching kids how to think critically — to make informed decisions and do research. Allowing mental health workers to give students complete information gives schools back the power to practice what they preach,” said state Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield). “Teachers and school mental health workers strive to cultivate and maintain a safe, open and accepting atmosphere. If not all the information is available in schools, educators can’t create a safe environment where students can find the support they need and deserve.”