Friday, September 30, 2022

Whitmer gets temporary restraining order on recent abortion court ruling for prosecutors

August 2, 2022
<p>Angelique Duphene stands on the Capitol Lawn, one day after getting an abortion to protest the overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022.</p><p>&quot;I have two young daughters and I am horrified at the prospect of losing the right that I just had yesterday,&quot; Duphene said.</p>

Angelique Duphene stands on the Capitol Lawn, one day after getting an abortion to protest the overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022.

"I have two young daughters and I am horrified at the prospect of losing the right that I just had yesterday," Duphene said.

Photo by Devin Anderson-Torrez | The State News

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer requested a temporary restraining order for the Michigan Court of Appeals order — the same temporary injunction that has prevented enforcement of the 1931 ban on abortion and was later ruled to not apply to county prosecutors.

“I am grateful for this relief—however temporary—because it will help ensure that Michigan’s doctors, nurses, and health care systems can continue caring for their patients,” Whitmer said in a statement

“This temporary restraining order ensures prosecutors cannot target women or providers in the short term,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement Aug. 1. 

After the Court of Appeals order, many were uncertain when the order would go into effect and which counties would be enforcing it.  

“This lack of legal clarity — that took place within the span of a workday — is yet another textbook example of why the Michigan Supreme Court must take up my lawsuit against the 1931 extreme abortion ban as soon as possible,” Whitmer said.

The Court of Appeals order clarified that the temporary injunction that has kept abortion legal in Michigan since the fall of Roe v. Wade did not apply to county prosecutors, differentiating between state and local officials. 

Essentially, this would mean that county prosecutors could prosecute abortion providers criminally if they saw fit. Originally, it was thought that the order took effect immediately. However, Planned Parenthood of Michigan continued to encourage patients to come in for their appointments after the ruling.

Seven county prosecutors from Wayne, Marquette, Oakland, Washtenaw, Kalamazoo, Genesee and Ingham counties issued a joint statement on April 7, and again on Aug. 1, saying that they would not use their resources to prosecute abortion cases. 

“As Michigan’s elected prosecutors, we are entrusted with the health and safety of the people we serve. We believe that duty must come before all else … we believe that those laws [the 1931 ban] conflict with the oath we took to support the United States and Michigan Constitutions,” they said.

This is part of a months-long battle in Michigan to legalize abortion after the Supreme Court decision was leaked that Roe v. Wade would be overturned, putting into effect a dormant 1931 ban on all abortions, except for those intended to save a mother’s life. 

In April, Whitmer filed a lawsuit against the ban, and in May, Judge Elizabeth Gleicher issued the temporary injunction that prevented the ban from going into effect immediately. The injunction continues to be challenged by anti-abortion advocates.

Meanwhile, abortion rights activists have gathered over 800,000 signatures in order to get a Reproductive Freedom For All initiative on the ballot. 

As voters prepare to head into a contentious midterm election, they will be able to vote on abortion rights if the petition is certified, making abortion rights one of the central themes of November’s re-election, where Whitmer promises to fight “like hell” to protect women. In opposition, Trump-endorsed GOP candidate Tudor Dixon is backed by the Right To Life PAC, Michigan’s largest anti-abortion organization. 

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