Beaumont-Spectrum changes course and will keep abortion policy until ruling

On Saturday, the BHSH system reversed course after a decision was made a day earlier to ban abortions at 22 hospitals.

Michigan’s largest healthcare system earlier said in a memo to employees Friday that it plans to honor Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban, which is currently suspended by injunction. The court order means abortion remains legal in Michigan even after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday.

But after an immediate reaction, BHSH said in statement posted late on Saturday night on his website that his thinking had “evolved”.

“After extensive evaluation and in-depth discussion, always guided by empathy, we have changed our approach,” the company said in a message dated Sunday but sent to Crain’s Detroit. “We know about the 1931 Michigan law. However, given the uncertainty and confusion surrounding its use, until there is clarity, we will continue our practice of providing abortions when medically necessary.”

Saturday’s announcement was the second step back from the health system’s initial announcement.

In a second memo late Friday night, CEO Tina Freese Decker pointed out that the legal ambiguity of the state’s current abortion law was the reason for enforcing the 1931 law, which did not go into effect.

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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and others have said several times that abortion is legal under an injunction.

The three memos were released within a day and a half after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the long-standing Roe v. Wade case that defended abortion rights for all women in the country. Michigan would have reverted to the 1931 law’s strict injunction, but a Michigan Court of Appeals judge last month granted it a temporary injunction that prevented it from working after the Supreme Court’s decision.

In February, Spectrum Health merged with Beaumont Health to form BHSH Health, the largest healthcare system in the state. The health care system is not affiliated with a religious organization that would prohibit it from offering abortion services, such as the Catholic health systems Trinity Health or Ascension Michigan.

This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crane’s Detroit business.

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