With Indiana’s abortion ban now law, the impact on Michigan is imminent even if that law doesn’t go into effect until September.
Michigan clinics and care providers are already at their breaking points.
“We always thought that we would, that the possibility of us being a safe haven was real,” said Renee Chelian, executive director of Northland Family Planning Centers. “We didn’t think it would happen quite this fast.”
After Ohio’s ban went into effect back in June, Michigan clinics saw a 50% spike in calls and doctors from other states began calling, looking for work.
The National Abortion Federation said searches for hotel stays and bus tickets skyrocketed.
But with three out of four neighboring states with bans, Michigan has become the closest state from Pennsylvania to Indiana where a woman can get abortion care.
“We’re still working on changes in our scheduling and processes to handle the overflow from Ohio,” Chelian said. “It’s going to be hard. There’ll be waits no matter how many more days we add or how much we can streamline a process to see patients. We will only be able to see so many patients in a day.”
But that may only be temporary.
Michigan’s ban on abortions are on hold after back and forth court fights this past week and new information this weekend on just how much the Republican-led legislature has spent defending a ban a majority of Michiganders don’t want in place.
The group Progress Michigan has gotten financial records from the state House and Senate show a combined $71,000 has been spent on legal fees.
“I actually think this is just the tip of the iceberg, because there is no real transparency into the legislature because our FOIA laws are so weak,” said Lonnie Scott from Progress Michigan. “All we can ask for is financial documents at a moment in time. And so, you know, we intend to continue to ask because I think this is the first batch of those numbers. I expect this amount will grow.”
Should a court uphold the state’s abortion ban, it might be short-lived.
The signatures on a petition to make abortion access apart of the state’s constitution are currently being counted and verified by the state. The deadline is the end of August to get those counted.