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Drastic Reduction of Abortions in Michigan Demonstrate the Importance of Incremental Protections

As life-affirming laws in Michigan increase, the abortion rates in Michigan continue to plummet. Michigan state health officials announced last week that the abortion rate in the state have dropped to a record low since record-keeping began in 1979. The current abortion rate shows a 50% drop since the peak in 1987, and a 3.7% drop from 2006. The Michigan Department of Community Health reported that in 1987 there were 350 abortions for every 1,000 live births. In 2007, the number of abortions dropped to 200 abortions for every 1,000 live births.

The drastic drop in the Michigan abortion rate in 2007 is no surprise. Americans United for Life (AUL) ranked Michigan as the #1 pro-life state for 2007. AUL bases its rankings on the number of pro-life laws being enforced in a state, and the breadth of protection provided by each law.

Michigan currently has a number of women’s health and safety laws in effect, including:

  • a comprehensive informed consent for abortion statute;
  • a statute providing an option for women to view an ultrasound image of the unborn child;
  • parental consent statute for abortions performed on minors;
  • minimum health and safety requirements for abortion facilities;
  • and a prohibition of the use of public funds and school health coverage plans for abortions.

Michigan law also contains provisions that specifically protect the health and safety of the unborn and the newly born. Michigan law defines the killing of an unborn child as a form of homicide, and defines non-fatal assaults on an unborn child as a crime. In addition, Michigan law requires that infants who survive an abortion and are born alive must be given immediate and appropriate care.

In terms of bioethics, Michigan law bans human cloning, for both reproductive and research purposes. Michigan also bans fetal experimentation and non-therapeutic research on a live human embryo, fetus, or neonate. As for end-of-life issues, Michigan treats physician-assisted suicide as a felony.

Lastly, Michigan law protects the rights of conscience of healthcare providers in the abortion context. Under Michigan law, healthcare professionals and healthcare facilities who object on grounds of conscience may not be forced to participate in the performance of an abortion, and may refrain from participation.

It is no coincidence that the abortion rate in Michigan has dropped to its all-time low, and that Michigan has the best pro-life, incremental legislation in place. Research shows that incremental protections are effective means of lowering the number of abortions performed. Michigan is a concrete example of this conclusion. The effectiveness and importance of passing life-affirming, incremental legislation in the states has been made clear enough. For those interested in making abortion rare, Michigan stands out as a model.

To go to National Right to Life’s article elaborating on congruent abortion data click here.