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Governor Whitmer Signs Final Piece of Reproductive Health Act


December 11, 2023



Governor Whitmer Signs Final Piece of Reproductive Health Act

On ten-year anniversary of floor speech sharing her personal survivor story, Governor repeals ban on insurance companies covering abortion


LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the final piece of the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) into law. The bill signed today repeals Michigan’s ban on insurance coverage for abortion without purchase of a separate rider, and implements other protections for doctors and patients. Today marks the ten-year anniversary of the passage of the ban, forcing women to pay extra for this so-called “rape insurance.” The Governor fought against the ban as Minority Leader in the Michigan Senate where she gave a floor speech and shared that she was a survivor of sexual assault.


“Ten years ago today, I was in the Michigan Senate, fighting against an unconscionable anti-choice bill that would have forced Michiganders to pay extra for insurance every month just in case they were raped or had an unwanted pregnancy,” said Governor Whitmer. “I shared my own story as a survivor of sexual assault and noted that any decision about a woman’s body ought to be hers alone. Exactly ten years later, I am proud to be repealing that same bill as governor. I am proud that in just over 18 months, we have gone from the repeal of Roe v. Wade to expanding reproductive freedom in Michigan with the passage of Proposal 3 and the Reproductive Health Act. Let’s keep protecting every Michigander’s fundamental freedom to make their own decision about their own body.”

Reproductive Health Act

The RHA repeals politically motivated, medically unnecessary statutes that criminalized nurses and doctors, forced health care providers to close, raised costs for patients, and restricted access to abortion. The RHA builds on efforts to expand access to abortion in Michigan after the passage of Proposal 3 last November and the repeal of the state’s extreme 1931 abortion ban earlier this year. Governor Whitmer first called for passage of the RHA in the What’s Next Address, a first-of-its-kind speech delivered in August laying out a policy vision for the fall after the Michigan Legislature’s unprecedented productivity in 2023.

  • Repeals the law that forced patients to buy a separate insurance rider for abortion, so-called “rape insurance.” Effectively, the law forced people to pay more out of pocket in case they were assaulted. Abortion should be covered just like any other form of health care and Michiganders should not have to pay more to get it as part of their comprehensive plans.


  • Repeals Michigan’s TRAP Laws, which are designed specifically to close abortion providers. These medically unnecessary and burdensome restrictions have nothing to do with a clinic’s ability to deliver care. They include rules about hallway width, ceiling heights, HVAC systems, and janitor’s closets. These restrictions jack up costs, especially for independent clinics, and have decreased the number of providers available to Michiganders, especially in Western and Northern Michigan.
  • Repeals an old, outdated law from 1931 that would have criminalized nurses and doctors for prescribing medication abortion including mifepristone. Medication abortions are the most common way abortions are performed and have been safely used for decades. While other states restrict access to these pills, the passage of the RHA ensures Michigan providers and patients will have every option available.
  • Ensures students at Michigan public universities have access to accurate information about all their reproductive health options. Young adults deserve the same medical choices that every other patient gets. For too long, students at Michigan universities could be denied access to information about their options—including abortion—depending on where they went to college.

The bills in the RHA:

  • Signed today: House Bill 4949, sponsored by Representative Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia)  
  • Signed November 21:
  • Senate Bill 474, sponsored by Senator Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing)  
  • Senate Bill 476, sponsored by Senator Erika Geiss (D-Taylor)  
  • Senate Bill 477, sponsored by Senator Mary Cavanagh (D-Redford Township)  
  • House Bill 4951, sponsored by Representative Kara Hope (D-Holt) 
  • House Bill 4953, sponsored by Representative Christine Morse (D-Texas Township) 
  • House Bill 4954, sponsored by Representative Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Township) 
  • House Bill 4955, sponsored by Representative Natalie Price (D-Berkley) 
  • House Bill 4956, sponsored by Representative Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo)  

“For decades, politicians bent on eliminating access to safe, legal abortion have enacted a range of laws to further that ambition — from banning the nonexistent practice of partial-birth abortion to requiring people to buy a separate insurance rider to obtain coverage for abortion services,” said House Speaker Pro Tem Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia), chair of the Progressive Women’s Caucus. “HB 4949, in addition to codifying the rights granted by Proposal 3 into state law, repeals these and other outdated, harmful laws to secure for Michiganders the reproductive freedom they overwhelmingly voted to grant themselves.”


Michiganders Support the Reproductive Health Act

  • In November 2022, 56.65% of Michiganders voted for Proposal 3, protecting abortion rights in our state constitution.  
  • In a May 2023 poll, 55% of women ages 18-49 say they or someone they know has made a decision due to worries about accessing abortion. In the same poll, 65% of adults are concerned bans on abortion would make it difficult for doctors to safely treat patients, leading to complications.