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Why Hoosier patients seeking abortions may head to Illinois sooner than Michigan

A photo of marchers carrying a variety of colorful, handmade signs supporting abortion rights while walking down a street
Michael Conroy/AP
FILE - Abortion-rights protestors march between the Indiana Statehouse and the Indiana State Library where Vice President Kamala Harris was meeting with Indiana legislators to discuss reproductive rights in Indianapolis on July 25, 2022.

A reproductive rights advocate says Michigan's wait period deters some patients from seeking care in the state.

In Indiana, a ban on most abortions was expected to take effect Tuesday, though it's now back on hold after a Monday-afternoon filing by the ACLU of Indiana. Last year in Michigan, Michigan voters enshrined abortion rights in the state's constitution with the passage of Proposal Three.

But many Hoosiers seeking abortions prefer to go to Illinois for care. That's according to Jessica Marchbank with the All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center in Bloomington, Indiana.

Marchbank said she expects Michigan abortion providers to see an increase in patients from Indiana if the state enacts a ban. But Marchbank added that most patients she has worked with have preferred to seek care in Illinois.

That’s because in Michigan, patients have to complete a consent form24 hours before they have an abortion. But Illinois has no such rule.

“In most cases, someone with a six-week pregnancy or anything under, anything within the first trimester, could be handled in only one appointment" in Illinois, Marchbank said.

"Whereas in Ohio, there's a mandatory 24-hour waiting period between the first appointment, which is a consultation, and the second appointment. Michigan also has a mandatory waiting period," she said, because of the form that must be filled out 24 hours in advance.

She said Michigan’s wait period discourages patients from seeking abortions here.

Democratic State Representative Julie Rogers of Kalamazoo agrees.

“It is really an unnecessary, burdensome hurdle that women have to face," Rogers told WMUK. She said Michigan’s wait period is what’s known as a TRAP law – for Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers.

“And especially since we are seeing an uptick of people coming to Michigan from other states that have banned abortion, that 24 hour waiting period becomes even more problematic,” Rogers added.

Despite the waiting period, Michigan saw non-resident abortions increase by 66 percent from 2021 to last year.

Rogers said she’s working with her colleagues to address the law.

Michael Symonds reports for WMUK through the Report for America national service program.

Updated: August 1, 2023 at 4:38 PM EDT
Indiana's abortion ban is still on hold after a last-minute filing from the ACLU of Indiana, which has indicated it may challenge the law.
Report for America national service program corps member Michael Symonds joined WMUK’s staff in 2023. He covers the “rural meets metro” beat, reporting stories that link seemingly disparate parts of Southwest Michigan.