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Michigan’s largest health care system clarifies that it will provide abortions when ‘medically necessary’

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After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, Michigan’s largest health care system said that it would discontinue abortion services except for when a woman’s life is in danger, but the health care system said in an update Sunday that it had “evolved” its approach and “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,” Beaumont-Spectrum Health said Sunday. “We continue to provide care for women’s health, including reproductive needs.”

Health care providers throughout Michigan are grappling with the new legal landscape following the Supreme Court’s decision to return the issue of abortion to the states. 

Abortion-rights protesters gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. 

Abortion-rights protesters gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

A 1931 law, which became dormant after Roe v. Wade in 1973, makes it a felony in Michigan to perform an abortion. 

Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher issued a preliminary injunction last month, temporarily blocking the ban by ruling that it likely violates the Michigan Constitution. 

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The temporary injunction will stay in place until Gleicher makes a final ruling or a higher court intervenes. 

“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,” Beaumont-Spectrum Health said. “We urge Michigan courts to bring clarity as quickly as possible.”

The health system did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday about how “medically necessary” is defined. 

Members of the House of Representatives walk from the Capitol to the Supreme Court to protest the abortion decision, Friday, June 24, 2022.

Members of the House of Representatives walk from the Capitol to the Supreme Court to protest the abortion decision, Friday, June 24, 2022.
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The University of Michigan Health System said it will continue providing abortion services “while challenges to various state-law criminal statutes” make their way through the courts. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, has urged the Michigan Supreme Court to intervene and rule on the issue.

“We need to clarify that under Michigan law, access to abortion is not only legal, but constitutionally protected,” Whitmer said in a statement Friday. “If the 1931 law goes into effect, it will punish women and strip away their right to make decisions about their own bodies.”

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Whitmer is up for reelection in November. Both chambers of Michigan’s legislature are controlled by Republicans, who want to enforce the 1931 law.

Paul Best is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @KincaidBest. 

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