By Chris Gast, Right to Life of Michigan Education Coordinator

Last week, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released their report on 2022 abortions in Michigan.

The good news is abortions performed on Michigan residents declined by more than 1,000! Sadly, the number of women travelling to Michigan for abortions increased, meaning Michigan saw a small overall increase.

You can read the full report here, but here are the top three takeaways you should consider.

#1: Out-of-state abortions increase

  • Abortions increased from 30,074 to 30,120.
  • Abortions on Michigan women decreased from 28,409 to 27,359.
  • 9% of abortions performed in Michigan are on women from other states.

Because Michigan has a shrinking population, some assume that abortions are decreasing only because there are fewer women in our state. That’s hopefully not the case. Michigan’s abortion rate declined from 15.1 in 2021 to 14.4 in 2022. That’s the number of women who had abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age in the state. So, about 1 in 70 Michigan women ages 15 to 44 had an abortion last year. The ratio of abortions to live births also declined, from 273 to 261. That means about 1 in 5 pregnancies end in abortion in Michigan.

Both those numbers mean a smaller percentage of women are having abortions, and a higher percentage are choosing life! Most of the decrease in Michigan women happened in Wayne County, which reported 976 fewer abortions.

We hope the Wayne County number represents a real decrease, and not an abortion facility in Detroit deciding to hide their numbers. Before 2013 in Michigan, we knew several facilities weren’t reporting their numbers as required by state law. They weren’t held accountable by state officials. That changed with our 2012 Prolife Omnibus Act, which finally brought effective health and safety standards to abortion facilities, closing many that were dangerous for women. Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice organizations are calling for a repeal of that law right now, putting women at risk.

Governor Whitmer made news last month establishing a commission to examine ways to increase population in Michigan. Sadly, she seems to believe promoting abortion will be a major driver of population and business growth. While a few thousand women may be willing to travel to Michigan to have abortions, they aren’t staying. Meanwhile, Michigan is losing out on 30,000 citizens every year because they are seen as unworthy of our time and care. The surest way to have a thriving population is to welcome every member of the next generation, not only a select few.

#2: Long-term trends continue

Three long-term trends we’ve seen over the years remain true in Michigan:

  • More abortion pills. Back in 2013, there were 5,103 abortions using abortion pills. In 2022, there were 15,606 pill abortions, just more than half of the total.
  • Disparate impact. Black abortions declined slightly in 2022, but there remains a wide gap. Hispanic abortions also saw an unprecedented increase, from 796 to 1,122. Because abortion businesses focus so heavily on Black women—especially in Michigan versus other states—they are still 7 times more likely to have an abortion than White women. 62% of abortions on Black women are repeat abortions, meaning the woman has already had at least one abortion in her past.
  • Aging demographics. The average age of women seeking abortions continues to rise. In 2013, teens had 3,106 abortions, women in their 20s had 15,243, and women 30 and older had 7,016. In 2022, those numbers were 2,167, 15,336, and 9,660 respectively. Two-thirds of abortions in Michigan are on women older than college-aged.

We’re working to address these three trends. For example, we have a special website for Metro Detroit offering women not just the great resources at prolife pregnancy help centers, but all manner of social services to encourage them that others will help them make motherhood work. However, these three trends are significant and ongoing challenges to further reducing abortions in Michigan. The high rate of repeat abortions means some women are being deeply failed by society, and simply giving them more abortion isn’t helping them.

#3: Worrying increase in greater Lansing area

While most of the state’s abortions happen in high population areas like Metro Detroit, Flint, and Grand Rapids, three counties have seen a large increase in abortions: Ingham, Clinton, and Eaton. In fact, the top three large counties (75,000 or more population) with abortion rate increases since 2013 are these three. Ingham’s abortion rate is up 77%, Eaton 134%, and Clinton a staggering 313% since 2013.

These are not economically depressed or declining counties; all three gained population since the last census.

What can we do?

Right to Life of Michigan will continue focusing resources on areas that need the most help. Even though abortion is becoming more concentrated in women who’ve already graduated from high school or college, education remains a key.

More than anything in our struggling state, we need to recover a sense of optimism that we can tackle big problems at their foundation, and that every life is worth living.