As Michigan doctors, patients prepare for the post-Roe world

As Michigan doctors, patients prepare for the post-Roe world


Verónica Valdivia-Vera stands in a parking lot outside the Planned Parenthood in Ann Arbor, in a line on a road marking where protesters cannot cross. She fled the scene when her daughter-in-law, Stephanie Mejia Arciñiega, telephoned her, trembling after she and her friend were surrounded by anti-abortion protesters trying to enter the clinic.

“They are coming to your car very quickly,” Mejia Arciñiega said. “You don’t want to turn their legs, so we had to stand up and be like, ‘Okay, no thank you.’ But they started giving us a bunch of paper and resources.We tried to get in, but we couldn’t.We were about 10 minutes late for our appointment because of that.

Mejia Arciñiega’s friend is still in the clinic, which provides abortion services as well as birth control, cancer screening and STD treatment. And when Valdivia-Vera said she had heard about the leak of the draft opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court throwing it away. Roe against Wadeno woman knew about Michigan’s 1931 law outlawing abortion.

This is what would happen to Michigan if Roe dropped tomorrow: once, almost all abortions would be a crime to carry up to four years in prison, even in cases of rape and sex. That is under a 1931 government law that was never repealed, even later Roe made it impossible in 1973.

“I did not know that would happen,” Valdivia-Vera said. “It’s like, amazing times. You would not think that by 2022, we would be concerned about women’s rights, reproductive rights.

Mejia Arciñiega is 18 years old. She has never considered a world where abortion is illegal. “You wouldn’t want a guy who isn’t ready [to] they must have a child because the law says ‘No.’ It’s not fair. “

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel agrees. The Democrat said he would not enforce the law if it came into force.

But Michigan has 83 county prosecutors, and Nessel said they can do whatever they want. “I do not think I have the authority to tell the legally elected county prosecutors what they can and cannot do,” he said. a press conference earlier this week.

As the law is written, Nessel said, it is possible that prosecutors can track down anyone who has an abortion, as well as someone who is taking abortion pills on their own.

That can “create a situation where if a woman has an abortion, and seek treatment later, will the doctor do so — there is usually a doctor-patient confidentiality, but because this is a criminal offense, then the doctor will have to report it. that to law enforcement agencies? ”

Nessel also spoke about the abortion that she had performed years earlier when she was pregnant with three children.

Doctors told her they were not in the uterus, she said. “And I was told a lot, especially that there was no way the three of them would end up … but if I had one abortion, that it was possible that the other two would live. And, you know, I took my doctor’s advice. … And you know what? It turned out he was right. “And now I have two wonderful sons.”

But under the 1931 law, there is only one exemption: for abortion which is “saving the life” of a woman. Yet doctors say they do not know what it means.

Say a woman has a severe heart attack, and her chances of dying during pregnancy are around 20% to 30%. “Is that enough space?” he asked Dr. Lisa Harris, professor at the University of Michigan and OB-GYN, speaking this week Michigan Radio Jimboni. “I don’t even want to put it that way, but is that enough to die that the person would graduate under the Michigan ban for life-saving abortion? Or would their risk of death be 50% or 100%?”

Or what if a pregnant woman has cancer, and she needs to end the pregnancy to start chemo? “There is no imminent danger of death, but there could be a risk of death many years later if they did not have chemotherapy … immediately. So these are the kinds of conditions that doctors are wondering about,” Harris said.

The state legislature is controlled by Republicans, who have been pleased with the draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion draft that would make Michigan’s 1931 law go into effect, but Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, submitted original case last month seeking to prevent the law from taking effect. Planned Parenthood filed a similar case. And there is a campaign to collect enough signatures to enforce abortion rights vote in November. But that will take a long time after the court issues its final decision Roe.

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