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Gov. Whitmer challenges 1931 abortion ban at Michigan Supreme Court

April 8, 2022
<p>Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at President Joe Biden&#x27;s &quot;Build Back Better&quot; press event in Howell on Oct. 5, 2021. </p>

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at President Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" press event in Howell on Oct. 5, 2021.

On Thursday, April 7, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer filed a lawsuit to ask the Michigan Supreme Court to resolve if the Constitution of Michigan allows for the state’s 1931 abortion ban. 

The 1931 law makes abortion illegal at any stage of pregnancy, including in cases of rape and incest. The only exception that the law allows for is in cases where the pregnant woman’s life is at risk.

Planned Parenthood of Michigan, a reproductive healthcare non-profit also filed a lawsuit challenging the 1931 abortion ban after Whitmer announced her lawsuit. The Planned Parenthood suit was filed with Michigan’s Court of Claims and aims to block the enforcement of the 1931 abortion ban.

Whitmer’s action appears to be gearing up for the upcoming summer when the Supreme Court of the United States is set to rule on the constitutionality of Mississippi’s law that bans abortion for pregnancies beyond 15 weeks. It is expected the conservative-dominated Supreme Court will roll back at least some of the protections provided to pregnant people under Roe v. Wade, if not completely reverse the ruling completely.

“Overturning Roe will criminalize abortion and impact nearly 2.2 million Michigan women,” Whitmer said Thursday in a press release. “If a woman is forced to continue a pregnancy against her will, it can have devastating consequences, including keeping families in poverty and making it harder for women and families to make ends meet.”

Whitmer is using the governor’s executive authority to seek intervention from the Michigan Supreme Court, rather than starting at the lower courts and moving up. This is the first time in her term as governor that Whitmer is using this power.

“No matter what happens to Roe, I am going to fight like hell and use all the tools I have as governor to ensure reproductive freedom is a right for all women in Michigan,” Whitmer said in the press release. “If the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to protect the constitutional right to an abortion, the Michigan Supreme Court should step in. We must trust women– our family, neighbors, and friends – to make decisions that are best for them about their bodies and lives.”

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