Some Michigan doctors say if abortion becomes illegal in Michigan, it can have harmful or even deadly consequences for millions of women. Three doctors condemned the leaked draft opinion on Roe v. Wade from the U.S. Supreme Court,
They say access to a safe and legal abortion is critical to healthcare.
"One of the main things we want to say here today is to be crystal clear that abortion is still legal in the state of Michigan," Dr. Lauren Owens, an OB/GYN in Ann Arbor, says.
The leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court on overturning Roe v. Wade means abortion rights could soon be left up to the states.
In Michigan, a law from 1931 could make abortion illegal statewide. Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Planned Parenthood of Michigan have sued to challenge this law, saying that abortion is protected under the state constitution.
"Before Roe v. Wade, that was a day when women used to die as a result of unsafe and illegal criminal abortion that will return if this abortion ban goes into effect," Dr. Michael Hertz, an OB/GYN in northern Michigan, says.
Multiple doctors shared with 13 ON YOUR SIDE that their patients could face serious consequences without the ability to make their own choice.
"We know that being forced to carry a pregnancy to term is particularly dangerous for Black, Latinx, Indigenous and other people of color, who face more barriers to healthcare and higher maternal mortality rates," Dr. Owens say. "This draft opinion, if made final, will disproportionately harm Michiganders of color and those with lower incomes."
"Marginalized communities are already disproportionately affected by access to abortion care, especially here in Michigan," Dr. Hertz says. "Ever since 1988, state-funded health care no longer provide as provided for abortion care, which means that patients have to self-fund abortion care."
They know that if someone really needs an abortion, they'll find a way, possibly miles and miles from home.
"Doctors like me know all too well how dangerous pregnancies can be. And we know how harmful forcing pregnancy is," Dr. Farhan Bhatti, a family physician in Lansing and Michigan State Lead from the Committee to Protect Health Care, says. "Forcing a person to carry a pregnancy to term can cause both physical and mental health trauma that can last a lifetime."
All the doctors who spoke today want to stress that abortion is still legal in the U.S. and in Michigan right now. The Supreme Court isn't expected to make a decision on this case until the summer.
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