Beaumont-Spectrum Health reverses course on stopping ‘medically necessary’ abortions
Michigan’s largest health care system will continue to offer abortions when medically necessary, despite earlier statements that its hospitals would follow legal guidelines from a 1931 state law that bans virtually all abortions.
Beaumont-Spectrum Health (BHBS) announced Friday that it will follow the decades-old ban to the letter despite the fact that the law comes with an injunction, which means abortion is still legal in Michigan for the moment.
The decision came on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling the same day that struck down the federal right to abortion enshrined in Roe vs. Wade.
RELATED: In landmark decision, SCOTUS overturns decision that made access to abortion a right
“Previously, BHSH System policies and practices generally permitted termination of pregnancy for medical indications, such as when necessary to prevent serious health risks to the woman or in situations where the fetus was unlikely to survive. “wrote BHSH President and CEO Tina Freese Decker. a note to staff members last week.
Decker went on to note that with the Supreme Court now returning the right to say on abortion to the states to decide individually, “the new policy and practices of the BHSH system will follow the guidelines of the Michigan statute of 1931 and will only authorize the termination of pregnancy if necessary to preserve the woman’s life.
Additional clarification from Decker later in the day said BHSH System would continue to provide reproductive care to women in Michigan, but there was “legal ambiguity” about how enforcement of this ban would work. Some county prosecutors — including those in Oakland, Wayne and Washtenaw counties — have already indicated they will not press charges against a woman who has had an abortion.
However, not all did, which Decker said could put doctors and clinical teams at “risk of criminal liability”, which she said was “not acceptable”.
However, BHSH System reversed course on the issue on Sunday, publishing a updated statement where he reaffirmed that his hospitals would perform abortion “when medically necessary”.
RELATED: Whitmer asks the court for a ruling on the abortion ban in 1931
He continued, however, to point to the uncertainty in the legal sphere regarding the application of the 1931 Act as a reason to exercise caution until Family planning c. Attorney General is decided by the Court of Claims.
To that end, he also urged the courts to “provide clarification as quickly as possible” on the continuation of the ban.
“We continue to believe that these decisions are both personal and private and best made between a woman and her doctor. In 2021, the entire BHSH system performed approximately 60 medically necessary therapeutic abortions that required hospital care,” the statement read in part. “We have not performed and will not perform elective abortions. We continue to provide care for women’s health, including reproductive needs. We will support our physicians and patients through a local multidisciplinary committee as they navigate this challenging landscape.
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