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Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Directive Affirming Reproductive Freedoms


December 14, 2022 



Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Directive Affirming Reproductive Freedoms

Action comes days before reproductive freedom enshrined into Michigan Constitution 


LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive instructing State of Michigan departments and agencies to review aspects of reproductive rights that fall within their jurisdiction and identify ways they can protect and increase protections for the fundamental right to reproductive healthcare under the Michigan Constitution. The governor is taking this action in advance of reproductive freedom being enshrined in the Michigan Constitution on December 24th following the passage of Proposal 3. 


“In November, Michiganders of every background made history and sent a clear message: that a woman must be able to make her own healthcare decisions without the interference of politicians in Lansing,” said Governor Whitmer. “Today, my administration is taking the first step to support and protect this fundamental right for every Michigander. I will continue to use every tool in my toolbox to defend Michiganders’ reproductive freedom, and work with anyone to build a thriving, competitive Michigan we can be proud to pass on to future generations.” 


At the signing, the governor was joined by representatives from ACLU Michigan, Michigan Voices, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, reproductive health care providers, and women who participated in roundtable discussions the governor held on abortion access with women of all political backgrounds. 


Executive Directive 

Governor Whitmer’s Executive Directive instructs all State of Michigan departments and agencies to review aspects of reproductive rights that fall within their jurisdiction and identify and assess their operations to both ensure that they provide the maximum protection possible for reproductive freedom and that they identify opportunities to proactively increase protections for reproductive freedom. 


Departments and agencies must also identify any laws, regulations, or policies within their jurisdiction that conflict with the constitutional right to reproductive freedom, work with the Attorney General to address these conflicts, and ensure that their public-facing material is up to date and complies with the recent constitutional amendment. 


Additionally, departments and agencies with enforcement responsibilities must continue to decline to cooperate or assist any authority in any investigation or proceeding against an individual for obtaining, providing, or assisting another to obtain or provide reproductive health care. 


To view the executive directive, please click here


Gov. Whitmer speaks at podium during event


Gov. Whitmer signs executive directive


Gov. Whitmer holds up signed executive directive


Governor Whitmer’s Actions to Protect Reproductive Freedom  

  • April 7: Filed a lawsuit to ask the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately resolve whether Michigan’s constitution protects the right to an abortion. 
  • April 7: Penned an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press explaining her action and highlighting that 7 in 10 Michiganders support the rights affirmed by Roe. 
  • May 3: Joined 16 other states to urge the United States Senate to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act and enshrine Roe’s protections in federal law. 
  • May 9: Penned an op-ed in the New York Times explaining why she isn’t waiting for Congress to act and urging fellow pro-choice governors, state representatives, private businesses, and citizens to take action to protect reproductive rights. 
  • May 25: Signed an executive directive instructing state of Michigan departments and agencies to identify and assess opportunities to increase protections for reproductive healthcare, such as contraception. The executive directive also instructs departments not to cooperate with or assist authorities of any state in any investigation or proceeding against anyone for obtaining, providing, or assisting someone else to obtain or provide reproductive healthcare that is legal where the health care is provided. 
  • June 23: Launched a new consumer website to educate Michiganders about the availability of no-cost contraception with most insurance plans. 
  • June 24: On the day of the Dobbs decision, filed a motion urging the Court to immediately consider her lawsuit. 
  • June 27: Followed up with an additional notice to the Court urging them to immediately consider her lawsuit. 
  • June 29: Sent a letter to Michigan’s insurers urging them to take steps to ensure Michiganders have coverage for reproductive health care to the fullest extent possible under current coverage. 
  • July 6: Joined with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to launch a public effort to educate Michiganders and health care providers about the difference between emergency contraception and medication abortion. The public effort will disseminate information about the differences between medication abortion and emergency contraception to all local health departments throughout Michigan, healthcare providers throughout the state, and the public. 
  • July 7: Called on the federal government to clarify and protect Michiganders’ right to cross the US-Canada border to seek reproductive health care or prescription medication including medication abortion. 
  • July 11: Urged President Biden to make birth control available over the counter without a prescription. 
  • July 13: Signed an executive order refusing to extradite women or health care providers who come to Michigan seeking reproductive freedom. 
  • July 22: Called on FDA to reduce barriers to medication abortion. 
  • August 1: Secured a restraining order blocking certain county prosecutors from enforcing the 1931 abortion ban after a court cleared a path for them to do so earlier on the same day. 
  • August 3: Went to court to defend the restraining order and won. 
  • August 4: Filed renewed request with Michigan Supreme Court to protect right to abortion. 
  • August 4: Submitted legal brief to prevent enforcement of extreme 1931 abortion ban. 
  • August 10: Filed motion for a preliminary injunction against 1931 abortion ban in Oakland County Circuit Court. 
  • August 19: Won a preliminary injunction against the 1931 abortion ban, protecting legal abortion in Michigan until the Michigan Supreme Court takes up the governor’s lawsuit or Michiganders vote to protect women’s fundamental rights. 
  • August 29: Expanded access to birth control to 200,000 Michiganders covered by MPSERS non-Medicare plans. 
  • August 31: Called on big tech to protect data and digital privacy in light of report of law enforcement using personal health data to go after women seeking reproductive care. 
  • September 19: Joined LARA to announce that pharmacists in the state of Michigan are eligible to prescribe hormonal birth control in partnership with doctors. 
  • November 2: Announced new protocols to ensure emergency responders are provided with opportunity and training to carry emergency contraception and post-exposure prophylaxis to care for sexual assault survivors and help them access crucial reproductive care.