Department of Community Health Announces Resolution of Abortion Payment Issue

April 29, 2003

Michigan Department of Community Health Director Janet Olszewski today announced that a settlement has been reached with the Northland Family Planning Clinic regarding payment for abortion services.  The lawsuit, Northland Family Planning Clinic, Inc., et al v. Janet Olszewski, et al, claimed sections of Public Act 685 of 2002 violated the constitutional rights of physicians and their patients as it prohibited the collection of physician fees during the 24-hour informed consent for abortion waiting period.  

The settlement, filed with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, resolves the concerns for timely payment for medical services rendered.

“There was a concern that the language was so broad that it could be misinterpreted,” said Olszewski.  “This resolution clarifies the intent of the legislature to ban pre-payment for an abortion.  This settlement not only promotes the intent of the law, but also stays within the constraints of the United States Constitution.”

The settlement stipulates that fees for an abortion cannot be collected until after a woman receives the informed consent for abortion materials and is afforded the 24-hour informed consent waiting period to make her decision.  However, the settlement does not prohibit a provider from requesting or receiving payment for other medical services, without delay, unless the patient has either scheduled an abortion or has received a copy of the informed consent materials from a health care provider. 

Language will also be included in the informed consent form that must be signed by a patient before an abortion can be performed reading:

I understand that I may sign this form if I have made payments to the physician or an agent of the physician, in whole or in part, for medical services provided to or planned for me, as long as I did not make such payments within 24 hours after I scheduled an abortion to be performed by the physicians and/or I did not make such payments within 24 hours after the physician or a qualified person assisting the physician personally gave me a copy of the written materials listed in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) in the consent form…