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Michigan governor sues to secure abortion rights, vacate old law | Women’s Rights News


With the U.S. Supreme Court likely to overturn Roe v Wade, the governor of Michigan seeks to repeal the state’s 1846 abortion ban.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday asked a Michigan court to recognize the state’s constitutional right to abortion and overturn a 176-year-old state ban that could go into effect if a step-by-step ruling The turning point of the United States was overthrown.

The Democratic governor’s preemptive lawsuit, filed in Oakland County against prosecutors in 13 Michigan counties with abortion clinics, comes as the US Supreme Court considers allow states to ban abortion much earlier than pregnancy and potentially overturning rights.

The Planned Parenthood of Michigan and its chief medical officer filed a similar lawsuit in State Court to block enforcement of the 1931 law, which dates to the 1846 ban. With the old law still on its books, Michigan is one of 28 US states that would ban or potentially ban abortion if the US Supreme Court overturned its 1973 ruling in Roe v Wade legalizes abortion rights nationwide.

Whitmer is expected to ask the Michigan Supreme Court to expedite her case instead of leaving it through the lower and appellate courts. A favorable decision in Whitmer’s case would allow abortion to continue in Michigan even if the top federal court rescinds Roe v Wade.

“It is important that we act now, to make sure that women and providers across Michigan know if abortion still exists in the state because it affects their lives. their lives and the practices of our health care providers,” Whitmer told The Associated Press, saying that nearly 2.2 million women could lose access to a legitimate medical procedure. legal, safe.

“It is vital that we take this action now to secure and ensure that the Michigan Constitution protects this right that we have had for 49 years,” she said.

Michigan’s ineffectual abortion ban was enacted before Roe’s 1973 decision to legalize abortion. States on both sides of the abortion issue have been taking various steps to prepare for Roe to be eroded or abolished, including make it a crime perform abortions or prohibit legal action against those who assist or receive abortions.

Michigan law makes it a felony to use an instrument or administer any substance for the purpose of “making a miscarriage” of a woman a felony, unless necessary to preserve her life.

Stephen Parlato of Boulder, Colo., holds a sign that reads "Hands off!" as abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate before the US Supreme Court.
Stephen Parlato of Colorado holds a sign that says ‘Hands Off Roe!!!’ when rights advocates and opponents protest before the US Supreme Court in December 2021 [File: Andrew Harnik/AP Photo]

Whitmer wanted the Michigan Supreme Court to declare the state’s constitutional right to abortion and repeal the 1931 act, a near-total ban that the governor called “one of the most extreme laws in the country.”

Her lawsuit argues that the law has no validity under the due process and equal protection provisions of the state constitution. Calls to repeal the law went nowhere in the Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature.

Whitmer will ask the court to intervene in part to avoid legal uncertainty when the federal high court rules on Mississippi’s 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’s ban, abortion rights were undermined during more than 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 high court has never ruled on the matter.

Abortion rights advocates hold the cardboard of Supreme Court Justices, demonstrating in front of the US Supreme Court.
The fact that former President Donald Trump sat three judges gave the court a new conservative majority, 6-3 [Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo]

Abortion rights advocates in Michigan have launched a vote to include abortion rights in the state’s constitution, but about 425,000 voter signatures are needed to make the initiative a vote. in November.

Meanwhile, seven Democratic county prosecutors named in Whitmer’s case have pledged not to enforce anti-abortion laws. Six other elected prosecutors are named Republicans.

“We cannot and will not support criminalizing reproductive freedom or creating unsafe, unavoidable situations for health care providers and those seeking abortions. in our community,” a joint statement from the elected prosecutors of Michigan’s Wayne, Oakland, Genesee, Washtenaw, Ingham, Kalamazoo, and Marquette counties.

“Instead, we will continue to devote our limited resources to the prosecution of serious crimes and the pursuit of justice for all.”

Whitmer’s case will be decided by four Democratic and three Republican judges in the state’s senior court.



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