With the US Supreme Court potentially overturning Roe v Wade, Michigan’s governor is seeking the removal of the state’s 1846 abortion ban.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer asked a Michigan court Thursday to recognize the right to abortion under the state constitution and strike down a 176-year-old state ban that could take effect if a landmark U.S. ruling is overturned. Joined.
The Democratic governor’s preemptive lawsuit, filed in Oakland County against prosecutors from 13 Michigan counties that have an abortion clinic, came as the US Supreme Court considers allow states to ban abortion much earlier in the pregnancy and potentially nullifying the right.
Planned Parenthood of Michigan and its medical director filed a similar lawsuit in the state’s Court of Claims to block enforcement of the 1931 law, which dates back to an 1846 ban. With the old law still in place, Michigan is one of 28 US states that would or likely to ban abortions if the US Supreme Court reverses its 1973 ruling in Roe v Wade legalizing the right to abortion on a national scale.
Whitmer was expected to request that the Michigan Supreme Court quickly take up her case instead of letting it go through the lower trial and appellate courts. A favorable decision in the Whitmer case would allow abortions to continue in Michigan even if the highest federal court overturns Roe v Wade.
“It was important for us to take action now, to make sure that women and providers across the state of Michigan know if abortions will continue to be available in the state because it affects their lives and the practices of our health care providers,” she said. Whitmer to The Associated Press. , saying that almost 2.2 million women may lose access to a safe and legal medical procedure.
“It is crucial that we take this action now to ensure and guarantee that the Michigan Constitution protects this right that we have had available to us for 49 years,” he said.
Michigan’s ban on forced abortion was enacted before the 1973 Roe decision that legalized abortion. States on both sides of the abortion issue have been taking a variety of steps to prepare for Roe to be eroded or rescinded, including making it a crime perform an abortion or prohibit legal action against people who assist or receive an abortion.
Michigan law makes it a felony to use an instrument or administer any substance with the intent to “cause miscarriage” of a woman, unless it is necessary to preserve her life.
Whitmer wants the Michigan Supreme Court to declare a state constitutional right to abortion and strike down the 1931 law, a near-total ban the governor called “one of the most extreme laws in the country.”
Their lawsuit argues that the law is invalid under the due process and equal protection clauses of the state constitution. Calls to repeal the law have gone nowhere in the Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature.
Whitmer will ask the court to intervene in part to avoid legal uncertainty when the federal supreme court rules on Mississippi abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The complaint says that while the Michigan Supreme Court in 1973 ruled that Roe limited the effect of the state ban, abortion rights have been undermined by 50 years of litigation in federal courts. The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in 1997 that there is no constitutional right to abortion, but the state’s top court has never ruled on the issue.
Abortion rights advocates in Michigan have launched an election campaign to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution, but they need about 425,000 voter signatures to bring the initiative to a vote in November.
Meanwhile, seven Democratic county prosecutors who were named in Whitmer’s lawsuit have vowed not to enforce the anti-abortion law. The other six elected prosecutors named are Republicans.
“We cannot and will not support the criminalization of reproductive freedom or the creation of unsafe and untenable situations for health care providers and those seeking abortions in our communities,” said a joint statement from the elected attorneys of Wayne, Oakland, Genesee, Washtenaw, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Michigan. , and Marquette counties.
“Instead, we will continue to devote our limited resources to prosecuting serious crimes and seeking justice for all.”
Whitmer’s case will be decided by four Democratic and three Republican judges on the state superior court.