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Judge blocks Michigan’s abortion waiting period, 2 years after voters approved abortion rights

Judge blocks Michigan’s abortion waiting period, 2 years after voters approved abortion rights

Gayatri Malhotra/Unsplash

By Associated Press

June 27, 2024

BY ED WHITE, ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT—A judge on Tuesday blocked Michigan’s 24-hour waiting period for abortions, saying it conflicts with a 2022 voter-approved amendment to the state constitution that guarantees abortion rights.

The waiting period “forces needless delay on patients after they are able to consent to a procedure, thus burdening and infringing upon a patient’s access to abortion care,” said Judge Sima Patel of the Court of Claims.

Patel issued a preliminary injunction against the waiting period, which has been in place for years, and also blocked portions of state law that require abortion providers give information about adoption and depictions of the fetus.

The judge also stopped Michigan’s requirement that only a physician can perform an abortion, noting that it excluded qualified nurses, physician assistants and nurse midwives.

“This exacerbates existing provider shortages, leading to large swathes of Michigan that currently lack physicians to provide abortion care,” Patel said.

The lawsuit was filed by Northland Family Planning Centers and a group called Medical Students for Choice. The legal challenge will continue while the injunction is in place.

State attorneys who had to defend the laws said a waiting period simply gave someone time to reflect on a major decision.

Abortion rights were added to the state constitution by nearly 57% of voters in 2022, months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer praised the injunction.

“By removing these barriers to reproductive health care, we will ensure Michigan is a state where you can make the medical decisions that are best for you and your family in consultation with your doctor,” Whitmer said.

This coverage was republished from Associated Press pursuant to a Creative Commons license. 

RELATED: Opinion—Reflecting on abortion rights in Michigan two years after the fall of Roe v. Wade

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