By Chris Gast, Right to Life of Michigan Education Coordinator
Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, abortion supporters have made miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies the center of their response.
Such a response is odd, given the vast majority of abortions have nothing to do with physical health reasons. Texas’ heartbeat law has been in effect for a year, other states’ abortion bans have been enforceable for months, and no women have died. Yet, these talking points continue. Their goal appears to be smearing prolife people as cruel villains who want women to die all across the fruited plains.
So, let’s look at this issue in real detail—specifically in Michigan.
First of all, miscarriages aren’t abortions. Every doctor knows that. Most people know that. No abortion law in Michigan restricts treatment for a woman after their son or daughter has died. Back in 2013, abortion supporters claimed our Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act would prevent health insurance from covering miscarriage treatments. It should have been obvious then that it was a blatant lie, and no woman since 2013 has had her insurance claim declined because of confusion between miscarriage treatments and abortion.
But what about situations like ectopic pregnancies, sepsis, or other conditions that require an abortion to save a woman’s life? Is Michigan’s life of the mother exception too confusing for doctors to understand?
We received five years of reports from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Medicaid coverage of abortions. Michigan law strictly forbids Medicaid coverage of most abortions, but allows coverage for any procedure needed to save the life of the mother. Also, because of a change in the Clinton Administration, Medicaid also covers abortions in cases of rape and incest.
Despite this strict law, every year there were claims paid to women having abortions. If we went further back than 5 years, no doubt every year we’d see Medicaid claims for abortions to save the life of the mother. This means doctors and insurance companies can easily tell the difference. If abortions in life-saving cases were so unclear, wouldn’t there be complaints and calls to change our 1988 ban on Medicaid-funded abortions? There have been no complaints, because doctors aren’t idiots and can obviously figure this out.
The abortion amendment that Michigan voters may face in November has similar disdain for doctors. It specifically refuses to include the wording of “doctor” or “physician,” instead opting for “health care professional.” That definition under Michigan law includes massage therapists and athletic trainers. Doctors aren’t perfect, but they certainly can’t be replaced with your masseuse.
The amendment goes even farther; it says the state couldn’t penalize or punish someone for aiding or assisting a “pregnant individual.” That means a non-doctor performing an abortion can’t be punished. We’ve gone from abortion supporters using back alley abortion myths to push their agenda to trying to enshrine back alley abortions into our Michigan constitution.
The numbers also tell us another story. Here’s how many Medicaid abortion claims were made for abortions in cases of rape and the mother’s life at risk in the entire state:
- 2017: 8 life of the mother, 0 rape
- 2018: 10 life of the mother, 1 rape
- 2019: 2 life of the mother, 1 rape
- 2020: 3 life of the mother, 0 rape
- 2021: 8 life of the mother, 0 rape
There were 0 claims for incest. Tragically, abortion is a tool to assist incestuous abusers, who can take their victims to abortion facilities to “get rid” of the evidence. The abortionists generally have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to abuse and human trafficking, and hand the victims right back over to their abusers.
About 25% of Michigan residents are covered by Medicaid, and an even higher-proportion of the poorer women more likely to have abortions than richer women. So, these numbers are not capturing all of the abortions in Michigan, but a very large percentage of them. Of the 28,409 abortions performed in Michigan in 2021, only 914 were paid for by health insurance.
So, we see that a tiny number of abortions in Michigan involve a risk to the mother’s life or situations involving rape or incest. Yet that’s all that abortion supporters want to talk about, because they know that most people don’t support abortions for purely economic or social reasons.
They want to create myths about women experiencing miscarriages not receiving treatment because they don’t want to talk about women caught in a cycle of self-destruction, coming back to the abortion facility multiple times in their life and just sent back to their situations. They don’t want people to see what abortion truly is. They don’t want people to think at all about the child in the womb. They don’t even want people to think about the situations of the majority of women who have abortions.