May 9, 2022 - News

The state of abortion in Michigan

Data: Guttmacher Institute; Map: Thomas Oide and Erin Davis/Axios

The number of abortions in Michigan has increased in recent years, according to state data.

  • The state's abortion rate is slightly higher than the national average, which has been on the decline for years.

Yes, but: The number of abortions in 2020 still represented a decrease of more than 39% since 1987.

Why it matters: Access to abortion in Michigan would be widely restricted if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Such a ruling would trigger a 1931 state law criminalizing most abortions, which has no exceptions for rape or incest.

  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer filed a lawsuit last month in anticipation of a Roe ruling that would stop enforcement of the 1931 law and protect abortion rights under the state constitution.
  • A ballot effort to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution also is underway.

State of play: In 2020, there were 29,669 abortions reported in Michigan — an 8.5% increase from 2019's total of 27,339.

  • According to a 2021 study by the Guttmacher Institute that researched annual figures up to 2017, there were 13.9 abortions in Michigan per 1,000 women aged 15-44. Nationally, the rate was 13.5.
  • Experts attribute increases in recent years partially to the impact of the pandemic and more visitors coming in from other states, the Detroit News reported.

The latest: Attorney General Dana Nessel wouldn't enforce the "incredibly draconian and strict" 1931 law, she told NBC’s "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

  • "As attorney general, I have statewide jurisdiction. And I ran on a platform of understanding that likely during the course of my term, Roe v. Wade would be overturned," Nessel said.
  • "I refuse to enforce this draconian law that will endanger their lives and put in jeopardy the health, safety and welfare of the lives of each and every woman in the state of Michigan."
avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Detroit.

More Detroit stories