Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Michigan Court of Claims suspends enforcement of abortion ban

May 17, 2022
Photo illustration.
Photo illustration. —
Photo by Madison Echlin | The State News

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher has suspended the enforcement of MCL 750.14, Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban. This injunction does not overturn the ban but temporarily bars its enforcement should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling protecting a woman's right to an abortion. 

This comes a few weeks after a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion hinted that the Supreme Court is likely to overturn the landmark decision in the near future, as early as June.

While the leaked documents don't represent the court's final decision, they created outrage and excitement among abortion-rights people and anti-abortion people across the country.

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, each state will gain the right to decide the legality of abortion within its borders.

Planned Parenthood of Michigan and Sarah Wallett filed a suit claiming that the law is unconstitutional under the Michigan Constitution. The 1931 law deems it a felony offense to “willfully administer to any pregnant woman any medicine, drug, substance or thing whatever,” or “employ any instrument or other means whatever, with intent thereby to procure the miscarriage of any such woman.” 

The law made exceptions only for the case where the pregnant person’s life is in danger. 

In the ruling, Gleicher wrote that Planned Parenthood has a “strong likelihood” of winning the legal battle over the constitutionality of this law. 

In a press release, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer named the suspension an "important victory for Michiganders."

"The opinion from the Michigan Court of Claims is clear and sends the message that Michigan’s 1931 law banning abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, should not go into effect even if Roe is overturned," Whitmer said. "It will help ensure that Michigan remains a place where women have freedom and control over their own bodies."

Whitmer also said that Michigan's "work is not over," and emphasized her wish for the Michigan Supreme Court to establish the right to abortion under the state constitution.

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