In 1973 when the abortion law was changed with the landmark case, Roe v. Wade, many states scrambled to change their pre-existing laws regarding abortion in order to comply with new Federal regulations. With haste often come mistakes and oversights. Michigan law fails to clearly identify the point of gestation in which an elective abortion is no longer legal; it simply states abortions are illegal past the point of viability. Abortion clinics in Michigan offer abortions up to 24 weeks, despite the fact that a neonate born at 22 weeks gestation is viable with medical assistance. Because of lack of clear definition in the law, clinics across the state are able to continue offering their services up until that time. Simply put, Michigan’s legal code is insufficient in its wording of abortion law. The Guttmacher Institute states that in Michigan abortion is only illegal (with exception to life/health endangerment) past the point of viability. (“State” 2) There are a few references to gestation time in the legal code, including from section 333.2835 which refers to requirements of physicians. In this measure doctors are required to send reports to the department [of vital records]. 6a states that the department will publish an annual report on abortions performed, including gestational period in 4 week increments from 5-28 weeks. The inclusion of 28 weeks in that code could lead some to believe that abortions at 28 weeks are permissible in the state of Michigan. 28 weeks is considered third trimester, which is forbidden under Federal law. A fetus is considered viable starting at 22 weeks, according to Table 6-1 from The Developing Human, Clinically Oriented Embryology. Additionally, the definition of viability according to Merriam-Webster is capable of living outside of the womb. Because a preterm neonate born at 22 weeks gestation is indeed viable with medical intervention, it appears that by allowing elective abortion up to 24 weeks...
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