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Michigan

Restrictions on Low-Income Women's Access to Abortion

Michigan prohibits public funding for abortion for women eligible for state medical assistance for general health care unless the procedure is necessary to preserve the woman's life or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.  Mich. Dep't of Comm'y Health, Medical Servs. Admin., Medicaid Provider Manual, Hospital, § 3.1 (Jan. 1, 2011), at http://www.mdch.state.mi.us/dch-medicaid/manuals/MedicaidProviderManual.pdf; Mich. Dep't of Comm'y Health, Medical Servs. Admin., Medicaid Provider Manual, Certification for Induced Abortion MSA-4240 (Rev. May 1997) at http://www.mdch.state.mi.us/dch-medicaid/manuals/MedicaidProviderManual.pdf.

An invalid and enjoined statute provides that a woman eligible for state assistance may not obtain public funds to pay for an abortion unless the procedure is necessary to preserve her life.  Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 400.109a (Original Statute Enacted 1939; Relevant Provision Enacted 1987).

The state supreme court held that this statute does not violate the Michigan Constitution by permitting the state to fund the expenses of childbirth even though the state does not fund abortion.  Doe v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 487 N.W.2d 166 (Mich. 1992).

However, a federal court held that this statute conflicts with federal law prohibiting participating states from excluding abortion from the Medicaid program in cases of rape or incest as well as life endangerment, and issued a permanent injunction prohibiting its enforcement to the extent that it conflicts with federal law.  Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Mich. v. Engler, 73 F.3d 634 (6th Cir. 1996).

Another partially invalid statute provides that any health-care professional, facility, or agency that seeks or accepts payment for an abortion knowing that public funds would be used to make the payment in violation of § 400.109a may be fined up to $10,000 per violation.  Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 400.109e (Original Statute Enacted 1939; Relevant Provision Enacted 1996).  This statute is invalid to the extent it applies to abortion in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment.

In addition, the Michigan attorney general has issued an opinion stating that the use of mifepristone to terminate a pregnancy is an abortion under these public-funding provisions.  Mich. Op. Att'y Gen. No. 7077 (Mar. 13, 2001).


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