Advance Notice: Briefs

State spells out difference between ‘Plan B’, abortion meds in education campaign

By: - July 7, 2022 12:42 pm

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks to the crowd gathered outside the Michigan Capitol in Lansing for a protest against the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022. | Photo by Andrew Roth

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) launched an education campaign Wednesday about the difference between emergency contraception and medication abortion. 

“Women deserve to have control over decisions about their bodies and lives, and the fall of Roe v Wade is leaving many with questions about their access to health care. To make matters worse, some may take advantage of this moment to create confusion about the important differences between emergency contraception and medication abortion, which are completely different medications used for entirely different purposes,” Whitmer, a Democrat, said in a statement. “It’s critical we use every avenue we can to give women access to the full range of reproductive health care, and accurate information while some push misinformation.” 

The abortion drug Mifepristone, also known as RU486 | Phil Walter/Getty Images

Emergency contraception is used to prevent pregnancy, while medication abortion is used to end a pregnancy. 

Emergency contraceptive pills, sometimes called the morning-after pill or “Plan B” pill, can be taken after intercourse to prevent a pregnancy if taken within five days of intercourse. Emergency contraceptive pills are not the same medication that is used to cause a medication abortion, sometimes referred to as the “abortion pill.”

Both types of medication remain legal in Michigan following the decision in Roe. 

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe, abortion remains legal in Michigan. The state has a 1931 abortion ban that criminalizes abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest, but enforcement of it is temporatily on hold after a Court of Claims judge ordered an injunction in a suit filed by Planned Parenthood to block the Michigan’s abortion ban.

DHHS will share information about the differences between medication abortion and emergency contraception, availability and coverage of the different medications to all local health departments throughout Michigan, health care providers throughout the state, hospitals, community health clinics and university health systems.  

DHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said the department is contacting health care providers to ensure they know they can legally continue to prescribe prescribe medication abortion and emergency contraception.

 “As a physician, I understand the importance of the trusted relationship between a patient and their doctor,” said Dr. Bagdasarian, DHHS chief medical executive. “Making sure all health care providers in Michigan understand what the U.S. Supreme Court ruling means for them, and their patients, is vital as they honor their oath to their patients, to their communities and to their profession.” 

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.

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