Is Abortion Legal Through All 9 Months of Pregnancy?

Abortion is legal through all 9 months of pregnancy if the abortion is needed to preserve the mother’s “life or health.” But as you know, the Doe v. Bolton decision defined “health” so broadly that anything counts for health – emotional, financial, family size, etc., So even though Roe v. Wade said the states can ban abortion after “viability” (24 weeks or less), the “life or health” exception means the mother can cite any “health” reason, and that makes abortion legal for all 9 months.

After Roe v. Wade, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that abortion is illegal in Michigan after “viability,” which is at least 24 weeks, but nowadays even earlier, maybe 22 weeks. So if there are no “health” indications, an abortion after viability is illegal in Michigan. The law has only been used once since Roe to prosecute an abortionist who did a 28 week abortion, and one of his nurses turned him in to state regulators. He was only convicted because the mother admitted there was no health reason for the abortion. She didn’t know she was so far along. If the mother offered any “health” excuse for the abortion, the doctor would have been let off the hook.

It was a unique case where both an abortion clinic worker and the mother testified that there was no health reason for the abortion.

This 24 week standard needs to be re-examined and updated. Either a court case or legislation are an option to move the standard down toward 21 weeks. Medical technology is going to force a change in this standard sooner rather than later.”

Ed Rivet
Legislative Director,
Right to Life of Michigan