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HomeCampus LifeUMichigan Creates Task Force to Brace for Abortion Ban

UMichigan Creates Task Force to Brace for Abortion Ban

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The University of Michigan (UM) has established a university-wide task force to alleviate the anticipated impact of a possible statewide abortion ban on the community. 

UM President Mary Sue Coleman registered her support for abortion rights in a statement on Wednesday, saying that completely banning access to the procedure would be difficult for the state and the institution.

“We have a female-dominated institution; we care about our own communities as well as those we serve through clinical care and education. I am deeply concerned about how prohibiting abortion would affect U-M’s medical teaching, our research, and our service to communities in need,” Coleman said.

The task force will work to identify and prepare for the ban’s possible consequences, such as negative effects on medical training and the recruitment and retention of UM faculty, students, and staff.

“Because of the way that financial inequity intersects with racial inequities, it will be disproportionately people of color, patients of color, students of color who are impacted when abortion’s not available,” Dr. Lisa Harris, UM professor of obstetrics and gynecology and task force co-chair, said.

“The impact of criminalizing abortion will be felt in classrooms as well, where pregnancy, undesired birth or complications from unsafe abortion may impact educational attainment,” Dr. Dee Fenner, Michigan Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology chair, interjected.

Impending Ban

The Detroit Free Press reported that a leaked draft opinion from the US Supreme Court strongly suggests that Roe v. Wade will be overturned. If this happens, most abortions would become a felony carrying a penalty of up to four years, even in the cases of rape and incest.

This is due to a 1931 Michigan law that has never been repealed despite being made unenforceable in 1973. But a temporary injunction could block its immediate enforcement.

Harris said patients from all over the state visit Michigan Medicine if they require hospital-level abortion care.

“We recognize that abortion is a complex issue that may bring up complex feelings. Regardless of one’s personal feelings about abortion, as professionals providing reproductive health care, this is a time of great uncertainty for us and for our patients. But we are pulling together a large, diverse group of university leaders to make sure we are prepared for whatever may happen,” said Fenner.

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