What Supreme Court's abortion ruling means for Michigan

June 24, 2022, 11:23 AM


Abortions remain legal in Michigan despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Friday striking down Roe v. Wade, but the future is uncertain.

A state Court of Appeals injuction issue in May by Judge Elizabeth Gleicher prevents a dormant abortion ban from 1931 from taking effect, but Republicans are challenging the decision in the Court of Claims and Court of Appeals.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has also sued seeking to overturn the old law and asked the Michigan Supreme Court to rule immediately.

Attorney General Dana Nessel and Democrat prosecutors in the state's most populous counties have said they have no plans to enforce a potential ban. Nessel reiterated that intention in a Friday statement issued following the ruling.

A petition drive organized by a coalition called Reproductive Freedom for All is underway for a November ballot measure that would enshrine a right to abortion in the state constitution. "The clear majority of Michiganders want abortion to remain safe and legal," Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan -- the group's political branch -- says in an email to supporters late Friday. "Through the ballot measure, we can ensure their voices are heard and abortion remains accessible in Michigan."

The email blast condemns the U.S. Supreme Court majority for letting "state governments and politicians to interfere with our most personal medical decisions. This is an injustice, and we should all be outraged." 

Ballot proposal petitions will be available at a Detroit rally protesting the decision on Saturday at 5 p.m. in Palmer Park. Rallies also are scheduled at that time in Lansing and Kalamazoo.

Michigan's 1931 law contains no exception for rape or incest and leaves open the door for felony charges against those who perfom abortions and possibly patients. It says the state can prohibit abortion after fetal viability — about 24 weeks — "unless needed to protect a patient's life or physical or mental health.” Violators could be punished by up to four years in prison.

An abortion ban would disproportionately hurt the state's poorest women.


Inside a Detroit Abortion Clinic on the Eve of Roe's Fall

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