In Michigan, the Reproductive Health Act is a series of 11 bills supporting the broadening of access to care that the state constitution advocates for. The process of this act is underway due to Michigan residents voting yes on Proposal 3 during last year’s election season, enforcing reproductive freedom as a right within the state’s constitution.
Some things that the Reproductive Health Act would help to accomplish include repealing laws that make getting abortions more difficult, not repealing parental consent policies and making it easier for people to travel to Michigan for reproductive healthcare.
“The act of overturning Roe v. Wade is one of fear, confusion and frustration,” said Taylor Neeb ’24, a pre-med student at Alma College studying obstetrics.
“In a personal stance, abortion is a multi-faceted decision that encompasses various differing circumstances, like the birth person’s health, financial status and personal belief, that it’s difficult to enact a protocol that, oftentimes, cannot be tailored to a specific person’s needs,” said Neeb.
Another aspect that is strongly taken into consideration when discussing abortion is the idea of the separation of church and state.
“This is leading state residents to wonder ‘what is the legality of their rights?’, and according to NPR’s ‘A year after Dobbs and the end of Roe v. Wade, there’s chaos and confusion’,1 in 8 residents in states where abortion is banned, believe medication abortion is still legal… The line between ‘church and state’ is beginning to blur,” said Neeb.
“Overall, I think that this bill is a step in the right direction following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade,” said Jessica Skinner ’24.
“However, as a WGS student, I feel very unsettled by the whole ordeal. As was discussed in multiple of my courses, it feels as if we are traveling back in time. I would have thought that state governments would have codified these protections into their state laws prior to the overturning, but rather it took Roe v. Wade getting overturned for them to do something,” said Skinner.
When it comes to what could come from this act, Neeb and Skinner both hope to see monumental shifts in particular areas.
“With this act, I would like to see a shift in increasing access to equitable education, especially emphasizing sex education within schools, mental and physical healthcare, fair housing and livable wages to name a few, in order to better ensure the quality of lives for persons in the wake of America’s new reality,” said Neeb.
“[The] most obvious is an increased quality of sex education paired with access to contraceptives. Additionally, a cultural shift in providing support for parents [is necessary]. They say ‘it takes a village’ to raise children, but America holds a very individualized culture. I believe that promoting community around the process of childrearing would make more people feel prepared and able to raise children,” said Skinner.
“This is especially important when examining the gendered expectations around parenting and the unequal burden placed on mothers. The Reproductive Health Act can’t encompass social shifts, but it can serve as a starting point to hold conversations on how we want to move forward providing the best protection and care for Michigan citizens,” said Skinner.
Although the passage of Proposal 3 is a productive step, it is not the end for the fight for reproductive justice in the state. With Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in support of the act, many Michigan residents are hopeful about the passage of this act.