LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) — In a recent judicial decision, Michigan Court of Claims Judge Sima Patel issued a preliminary injunction against the state’s 24-hour waiting period and informed consent laws for abortions. This ruling, rooted in the 2022 Proposal 3, has drawn praise from reproductive rights advocates and sharp criticism from anti-abortion groups.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer welcomed the court’s decision, asserting that it empowers women to make decisions about their bodies without undue interference. 

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“The 24-hour waiting period has no basis in science. It is a political roadblock put in place to shame and inconvenience women, often forcing them to pay more to get the care they need or denying them that care altogether,” Whitmer said in her statement on the ruling. 

Whitmer also criticized the statutory consent requirement for necessitating the dissemination of incorrect and unscientific information, which she claims hindered genuine informed consent.

Key Points of the Ruling

Judge Patel’s ruling blocks the enforcement of:

  • The 24-hour waiting period before an abortion.
  • The requirement for patients to receive specific informed consent materials.
  • The prohibition on advanced practice clinicians performing abortions.

The ruling stems from the passage of Proposal 3 in 2022, which enshrined the right to abortion up to the moment of birth in Michigan’s constitution. Judge Patel found that these regulations imposed unnecessary burdens on women seeking abortions, conflicting with the newly established constitutional rights.

Right to Life of Michigan (RLM) President Amber Roseboom condemned the ruling as “reckless” and “dangerous.” Roseboom claimed that the injunction compromises women’s health and safety by removing regulations that ensured medically accurate information and adequate decision-making time. According to RLM, the ruling, alongside recent legislative actions, places women at greater risk when seeking abortion services.

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“This dangerous move comes on the heels of Governor Gretchen Whitmer and her Democratic allies in Lansing removing common-sense health and safety standards for abortion clinics,” Roseboom said.

RLM’s concerns extend beyond immediate health risks, as well. The organization argues that the decision undermines democratic principles, pointing to a Marketing Resource Group (MRG) poll indicating that 66% of Michigan voters support the 24-hour waiting period and informed consent laws. This statistic suggests that the court’s ruling contradicts the will of the majority, who believe these regulations are necessary for protecting women’s health.

The injunction is expected to expand access to abortion services in Michigan, particularly in rural areas where advanced practice clinicians are often the primary providers.

Whitmer says that removing these barriers will allow Michigan residents to make informed medical decisions in consultation with their doctors.

While this ruling marks another shift in Michigan’s abortion regulations, it is not the final word. The potential for an appeal remains, and ongoing legislative discussions will continue to shape the future of reproductive rights in the state.