Roe v. Wade reversal would be ‘nightmare scenario’ at University of Michigan, official says

ANN ARBOR, MI – A potential US Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade could come with a bevy of negative effects at the University of Michigan, Board of Regents Chair Jordan Acker said Sunday.

The 1973 ruling that legalized abortion could be nullified as a leaked US Supreme Court majority opinion states there is no constitutional right to an abortion. Many Michigan Democrats fear the overturning of Roe would activate a 1931 state law that makes any attempt to seek a miscarriage a felony.

Acker, a Democrat from Huntington Woods, outlined in a Twitter post the various consequences that outlawing abortion in Michigan would have at UM, including that female students and faculty would not come to a university in a state without protections, he said.

“If this law is enacted and enforced, our talent will flee,” he wrote in the May 8 social media thread. “That surgical procedure that was available in Ann Arbor, Brighton or West Michigan? You’ll have to go out of state now.”

The thread was a response to a post from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who said parents in liberal states, such as California, New York and Illinois, would hesitate before sending their daughters to UM. Acker and Nessel have called the 1931 law “draconian.”

“Our faculty will look the same way,” Acker wrote. “Why teach Michiganders and live under a horrible draconian law when you can go to Massachusetts, Illinois, or California? The crown jewel of education in the Midwest is suddenly gone.”

Read more: 2 things stand in the way of a Michigan abortion ban if Roe v. Wade is overturned

“That’s not to mention the impact this has on all our students, especially women,” Acker added. “Being forced to choose between carrying a fetus against your will after rape or incest OR going to prison? Who wants to attend school in such a state?”

Abortions stemming from rape or incest account for less than 2% of procedures, according to a 2004 study from the Guttmacher Institute. The 1931 Michigan law does not allow for exemptions in these instances.

With students possibly opting to attend universities, UM could see a hit to its revenue, Acker wrote.

“Students from out of state do fill a funding gap from the state,” he wrote.

About 45% of UM first-year students (about 3,280) enrolling in the fall 2021 semester came from out of state, according to a university news release. The average expenditures per academic year for an out-of-state student is $69,326, according to UM data.

An overturning of Roe could also hinder recruitment of talent to Michigan Medicine, Acker wrote.

“(Michigan Medicine) attracts doctors, researchers, and nurses from all over the country and world, so residents of our state can get top notch care in everything from dermatology to cancer and transplant surgery,” he wrote.

For information on family planning at Michigan Medicine, visit the health system’s website on the subject.

Acker pledged to work with UM officials to ensure that law is not enforced on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses.

“Suffice to say, when I say it I mean it,” Acker wrote. “I will do whatever is possible, and work with my colleagues on the board, (President Mary Sue Coleman) and her successor, to prevent this heinous law from being enforced on all of our campuses. Period.”

Acker likely would see support in his views from his five fellow Democrats on the Board of Regents, versus the two Republican regents, which include Michigan GOP Chair Ron Weiser.

An unreturned message was left with Acker asking about strategies that could be used at UM to make the 1931 law unenforceable.

Read more from The Ann Arbor News:

Gov. Whitmer sues in attempt to strike down Michigan’s 1931 abortion law

Guaranteed abortion access a fight Michigan Democrats say they aren’t giving up on

Most abortions happen in first trimester, and other facts about Michigan abortion rates

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