Anti-Abortion Activists Claim Michigan Wants School Social Workers to Perform Abortions

Conservatives lying about abortion is very common, but claiming a state is trying to let mental health professionals perform abortions is really wild.

Anti-Abortion Activists Claim Michigan Wants School Social Workers to Perform Abortions
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There’s a grand tradition of Republicans lying about abortion out of necessity because they know their positions are unpopular, and these lies are only going to escalate as we approach November’s midterm elections where abortion is on the ballot—both literally and figuratively.

In Michigan, voters will weigh in on Proposal 3, which would enshrine the right to abortion in the state constitution. An August vote to remove similar protections from the Kansas constitution was resoundingly defeated, and Republicans have been crapping their pants ever since.

As campaigning kicks into high gear, canvassers are going door to door and apparently passing out literature that flat-out lies about what the amendment would do. Michigander Zach Gorchow shared a photo of a flier on Twitter, which was paid for by the Protect Life Committee Supporting Women and Children. The flier contains the usual smears that pro-choice activists support “abortion up to birth,” which is not true generally, and in this case, the amendment still lets the state regulate abortion after fetal viability, or after 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy.

But perhaps the wildest claim is that the measure would make it so “any ‘health care professional’ could approve or perform abortions, including a school social worker.” (Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit said on Twitter that every claim was a lie.)

School social workers could be considered healthcare professionals if we’re talking about mental health, but abortion is medical care that is either done with prescribed medications or a procedure in a clinic or hospital. Social workers can’t prescribe medicine or perform medical procedures, so this claim is inaccurate.

As University of Michigan law professor, Leah Litman, told the Detroit Free Press, “Clinical standards of practice and evidence-based medicine don’t allow Joe Schmo the dentist or barista to perform an abortion, and so states can restrict that.” (Remember this when states move to allow nurse practitioners and licensed midwives to prescribe abortion pills and opponents shriek that it would mean “non-doctors” providing abortions.)

This ballot measure matters because while Michigan currently has a pro-choice governor in Gretchen Whitmer, the Republican-controlled state Senate and House could theoretically gain enough seats in the midterms for a veto-proof supermajority. That means they could push through abortion bans over Whitmer’s objection.

California, Nevada, and Vermont will vote on protective measures this November, while Kentucky will vote on an anti-abortion initiative.

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