Whitmer and MDHHS launch effort to educate Michiganders on difference between emergency contraception and medical abortion



July 6, 2022

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Governor Whitmer and MDHHS Launch Public Effort to Educate Michiganders and Health Care Providers About the Difference Between Emergency Contraception and Medical Abortion

Emergency contraception and medical abortion remain legal in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are launching a public effort to educate Michiganians and health care providers about the difference between emergency contraception and medical abortion. This public effort comes in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe vs. Wade, and will help counter any misinformation about drugs that serve different purposes. Unlike many other states, abortion remains legal in Michigan following the decision of deer thanks to a temporary injunction from the Michigan Court of Claims. Emergency contraception is legal and is not subject to any modification following the decision Deer, because it is a completely different drug.

The new public effort will disseminate information about the differences between medical abortion and emergency contraception to all Michigan local health departments, statewide health care providers, hospitals, health clinics community, academic health systems, etc. The public effort will also provide information on the availability and coverage of different drugs. Information will be provided in mmany languages.

“Women deserve to have control over decisions about their bodies and their lives, and the downfall of Roe vs. Wade leaves many people wondering about their access to health care. To make matters worse, some may use this moment to confuse the important differences between emergency contraception and medical abortion, which are completely different drugs used for completely different purposes. That’s why we’re launching a new public effort, giving women and families the best and most accurate information about these drugs,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “It is essential that we use every means possible to give women access to the full range of reproductive health care and accurate information at a time when some are pushing misinformation.”

“MDHHS is reaching out to health care providers to make sure they know they can legally continue to prescribe medical abortion and emergency contraception, different drugs used for different purposes – emergency contraception used to prevent pregnancy and medical abortion used to terminate a pregnancy safely,” said Elizabeth Hertel, Director of MDHHS. “In addition, we’ve added information to our website about emergency contraception and medical abortion to help Michigan families understand their options and find the resources they need.”

“As a doctor, I understand the importance of a trusting relationship between a patient and their doctor,” said Dr. Bagdasarian, Medical Director of MDHHS. “Ensuring that all Michigan healthcare providers understand what the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision means for them and their patients is critical as they honor their oath to their patients, their communities and their profession. Emergency contraception is used to prevent pregnancy and is not subject to change in light of the decision taken in Roe versus Wade. Medical abortion is used to safely end a pregnancy and remains legal in Michigan thanks to a temporary injunction. Emergency contraception and medical abortion are still legal in Michigan to prescribe and take.

Emergency contraception

Emergency contraceptive pills, sometimes called the morning after pill or “Plan B”, can be taken after sex to prevent pregnancy, if taken within five days of having sex. Emergency contraceptive pills are not the same medicine used to induce medical abortion, sometimes called the “abortion pill”.

  • Hormonal contraception: A type of birth control that uses hormones to prevent pregnancy. Not a form of abortion. Legal in Michigan. Available on prescription.
  • Emergency contraception: Contraception that can be used to prevent pregnancy after sex. Not a form of abortion. Legal in Michigan. Available over the counter in pharmacies.
  • Medicated abortion pills: Medicines that can be used to end a pregnancy. Can be used at home. A form of abortion. Legal in Michigan due to a temporary injunction in the Michigan Court of Claims. Available on prescription.

A flyer explaining the differences between emergency contraception and medical abortion will be sent out throughout Michigan and via social media.

Options for accessing emergency contraception or abortion services can be found by calling 211 or visiting 211 website.

For more information on emergency contraception, visit the MDHHS website.

For more information on medical abortion visit the MDHHS website

For more information on general family planning services, please visit MDHHS’ Family planning page.

Michigan pre-roe ban and injunction

The current version of Michigan law criminalizing abortion without exception for rape or incest was enacted in 1931. In 1973, the decision in Roe vs. Wade made Michigan’s 1931 ban unconstitutional, and abortion became legal in the state of Michigan.

On May 17, 2022, a Michigan state judge granted a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood against Michigan’s unconstitutional 1931 law criminalizing abortion. This injunction temporarily blocks the abortion ban, underscoring the need for Governor Whitmer’s action to permanently protect legal abortion in Michigan.

Trial of Governor Whitmer

The governor sued and asked the Michigan Supreme Court to recognize a constitutional right to abortion under the Due Process Clause of the Michigan Constitution. He is also asking the court to stop enforcing Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban. The abortion ban violates Michigan’s Due Process Clause, which provides a right to privacy and bodily autonomy that is violated by the state’s near-total criminal ban on abortion. It also violates Michigan’s Equal Protection Clause because of how the ban denies women equal rights because the law was passed to reinforce outdated notions of women’s proper role in society.

Michiganders on Abortion

For Michiganders, that question is more than settled. According a survey as of January 2022, 67.3% of Michiganders support deer and 65.7% support repeal of Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban. More than 77% believe abortion should be a woman’s decision. A significant majority of Michiganders agree that abortion is a decision a woman should make in consultation with a medical professional she trusts.



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