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150+ Medicaid Enrollees Affected, $100,000+ Paid: ACLU Sues Michigan to Overturn 30-Year Abortion Ban

ACLU Sues Michigan to Overturn 30-Year Abortion Ban, Citing Voter-Approved Reproductive Rights Amendment

 Suit Claims Medicaid Exclusion Disproportionately Affects Women of Color and Violates Voter Will

According to the report by Michigan Public, the ACLU of Michigan has filed a lawsuit to overturn a state ban on Medicaid funding for abortions and arguing that it violates a 2022 constitutional amendment protecting reproductive rights. ACLU sues Michigan over this issue with Susan Rosas who is the CEO of YWCA Kalamazoo and the plaintiff in the case and emphasizing that the financial barrier to obtaining an abortion undermines the right to choose. Rosas stated that Medicaid is disregarding the will of Michigan voters and controlling women’s bodies by not covering abortion services. The lawsuit contends that the ban creates two tiers of abortion access: one for those who can afford private health insurance which can cover abortions and another for those who rely on Medicaid. The complaint highlights that YWCA Kalamazoo’s reproductive health fund has paid for abortions for about 150 Medicaid enrollees in the past two fiscal years. The organization argues that this money could be used for other vital services if the state didn’t exclude abortion from Medicaid coverage.

Rosas pointed out the discriminatory nature of the ban and noting that black residents are disproportionately represented among Medicaid enrollees in Michigan and face higher pregnancy-related mortality rates. She stressed that ignoring the will of the voters and restricting Medicaid coverage disproportionately affects people of color. Opponents argue that removing the ban would force taxpayers to fund abortions regardless of their personal beliefs. ACLU sues Michigan over this issue with Amber Roseboom the president of the Right to Life of Michigan and criticizes the move. She said it would burden taxpayers already struggling with high inflation. She accused activists of disregarding taxpayers’ overwhelming opposition to using public funds for abortions. The Medicaid Abortion Funding Ban which was passed by Michigan voters over 30 years ago has prohibited Medicaid from covering abortions except to save the life of the pregnant person. Federal funds also restrict abortion funding except in cases of rape, incest, or life-threatening situations due to the 1977 Hyde Amendment. However, states can use their own funds for abortion coverage as 17 states currently do.

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150+ Medicaid Enrollees Affected, $100,000+ Paid: ACLU Sues Michigan to Overturn 30-Year Abortion Ban (PHOTO: CNBC)

ACLU Sues Michigan to Overturn Medicaid Abortion Ban, Despite Legislative Failure to Repeal

Furthermore, despite attempts by Democrats to repeal the Medicaid ban last year they failed to secure enough votes. Bonsitu Kitaba who is a deputy legislative director of the ACLU of Michigan also emphasized the need for this lawsuit. He stated that the Legislature failed to act which resulted in leaving the courts to ensure the right to reproductive freedom is upheld as enshrined in the state constitution. Earlier this week, a Michigan Court of Claims judge temporarily blocked other abortion restrictions including a mandatory 24-hour waiting period. The ACLU‘s lawsuit is part of ongoing efforts to ensure comprehensive reproductive rights in Michigan.

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