How overturning Roe v. Wade impacts Michigan
Read the 1931 law that ruled abortion illegal in Michigan.
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Friday, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The decision is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.
But how does this affect Michigan? Both chambers of Michigan’s legislature are controlled by Republicans who aim to ban or restrict abortion access. However, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who is up for reelection this year, supports access.
Under a dormant 1931 law, all abortions are banned in Michigan. However, that law has not been enforced since the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973.
Planned Parenthood of Michigan filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban and a judge suspended the law in May and said the law violates the state’s constitution, a decision hailed by both Gov. Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel – both Democrats.
What is the 1931 law?
The law makes it a felony to utilize an instrument or administer any substance with the intent to abort a fetus unless it is necessary to preserve the woman’s life – with no exceptions for instances of rape or incest.
Both the doctors who assist in abortions and pregnant individuals who use medication for self-abortions could be charged with a possible penalty of up to four years in prison.
Impact of Friday’s Supreme Court ruling
The injunction from the Planned Parenthood case safeguarded that abortion would not immediately become illegal should the Supreme Court strike down Roe v. Wade.
Planned Parenthood of Michigan along with other supporters including Nessel hope an injunction indicates abortion rights in the state will be preserved. Ahead of the decision, Nessel’s office said “given the ongoing lawsuits, we cannot speculate what the state of abortion rights will be in Michigan” should Roe be overturned.
What happens next
Gov. Whitmer has filed suit, asking the Michigan Supreme Court to declare the 1931 law unconstitutional, but the court has yet to act. Abortion rights supporters in Michigan hope to get the issue on ballots for the fall elections. The constitutional amendment they are proposing would assert the right to make pregnancy-related decisions – including those about abortion and other reproductive services including birth control - without any interference.
To make the ballot in November, the Reproductive Freedom for All committee must collect roughly 425,000 signatures from valid voters by July 11.
To see how Friday’s decision impacts other states, click HERE.
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