Where Michigan Hospital Systems Stand on Abortion

With legality of abortion still unclear, health providers take differing stances
michigan hospitals abortion
In a statement following the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade, Henry Ford Health says its healthcare providers “have an unwavering commitment to the health and wellbeing of those we serve.” // Photograph courtesy of Henry Ford Health

While the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, abortion is currently legal in Michigan due to an injunction from the Michigan Court of Claims. However, there is still a lot of confusion about what reproductive health care looks in Michigan in a post-Roe world.

Following the Court’s ruling, Beaumont-Spectrum Health said it would discontinue abortion services due to confusion around a 1931 Michigan law that bans all abortions except when performed to save the life of the mother. But it changed its stance on June 26, stating that it would continue to provide abortion services. It also urged the Michigan courts to provide clarity as “quickly as possible.”

Now, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is asking the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately consider the lawsuit she filed in May, which asks the court to determine if the state’s constitution protects the right to abortion.

“Right now, abortion remains safe and legal in Michigan because of a court order temporarily blocking enforcement of the state’s 1931 abortion ban,” she says in a statement. “But in the wake of the decision in Dobbs overturning Roe, certain county prosecutors and health providers have expressed confusion about the current legal status of abortion in Michigan. This only underscores the need for the Michigan Supreme Court to act now, which is why I sent a notice to the court urging them to immediately take up my lawsuit and decide if access to abortion is protected under the Michigan Constitution. Getting this done will put an end to any confusion and ensure that Michiganders, health providers, and prosecutors understand the law.”

As the politicians continue to determine what the right to abortion will look like in Michigan, here’s where three of the state’s biggest health care providers — including BHSH — stand on the issue now.

Henry Ford Health  

HFHS released its statement on June 24.

“The Supreme Court of the United States issued a ruling today that overturned Roe v. Wade, the decades-old case that legalized abortion in our country. The power to determine where, how and if abortion is permitted is now placed in the hands of the individual states. We are working to determine what the implications from this significant change in the legal and medical landscape may be for our patients, for our community and for us.

“As healthcare providers, we have an unwavering commitment to the health and wellbeing of those we serve, and a responsibility to approach this issue through the lens of what’s in the best interest medically of our expectant patients and their families. Sometimes those expectant patients are faced with heartbreakingly complex — even life-threatening —scenarios, and they turn to us as their trusted health advisors to guide them — or, sometimes, save them — through our capabilities in medicine. While we will comply with whatever laws come from the overturning of Roe v. Wade, our steadfast dedication to supporting people along their entire health journeys remains.”

Beaumont-Spectrum Health

BHSH issued its new guidance on June 26.  

“After extensive evaluation and in-depth discussion, and always using compassion as our guide, we have evolved our approach. We continue to have the full support of the BHSH System Board of Directors.

“At present, the current legal landscape regarding abortion in our state is unclear and uncertain. We are aware of the 1931 Michigan law. However, given the uncertainties and confusion surrounding its enforcement, until there is clarity, we will continue our practice of providing abortions when medically necessary.

“We continue to believe that these decisions are both personal and private and best made between a woman and her physician. In 2021, the entire BHSH System performed approximately 60 therapeutic, medically necessary abortions that required hospital level care. “We have not and will not perform elective abortions. We continue to provide care for women’s health, including reproductive needs. We will support our physicians and patients through a multidisciplinary, local committee as they navigate this challenging landscape.

“We urge Michigan courts to bring clarity as quickly as possible.”

Michigan Medicine

Michigan Medicine released its statement on June 24.

“Michigan Medicine will continue to offer reproductive services, including abortion care, which remains legal in Michigan based on state court rulings.

“Michigan Medicine primarily provides abortions for patients that need hospital level care.

Many of the patients we see are diagnosed with fetal anomalies or experience other complications that make ongoing pregnancy and giving birth dangerous, or they have serious underlying illnesses or other needs that make abortion care in an outpatient facility not possible.

“Our commitment is to be there for those who need the specialized care we can offer.”