Jackson County Prosecutor says he’ll consider criminal charges for abortion providers in Michigan

“My focus is on what the law is and just following the law.”
Jackson County Prosecutor says he’ll consider criminal charges for abortion providers in Michigan
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 6:27 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The courts ruled abortion is legal in Michigan for now.

Related: Abortion still legal in Michigan, but future unclear

But Jackson County’s prosecuting attorney, Jerry Jarzynka, said he’s ready to file criminal charges anyway and that the court ruling that put Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban on hold won’t stop him from charging someone with a crime for having an abortion.

“If you have a law, are you going to enforce the law? Yes,” said Jarzynka.

He said with Roe v Wade overturned, he’s following the 1931 law.

“It’s not about what I will or won’t allow. The statute, like any other criminal statute, is going to govern. And it’s going to be dependent on what kind of evidence or facts that the police discover during their investigation and what they submit,” said Jarzynka.

As a county prosecuting attorney, Jarzynka said he was not part of the abortion lawsuit filed by the plaintiff. He said the judge’s order only applies to the defendant -- the Attorney General.

“I was not part of that lawsuit. I was not sued by that plaintiff, nor the other county prosecuting attorney’s in that state of Michigan,” said Jarzynka.

But Planned Parenthood of Michigan said the prosecutor has it all wrong -- and that the judge’s decision covers the entire state.

“The Michigan court of claims was very clear that, that not only applies to attorney general but also to all county prosecutors,” said Ashlea Phenicie, with Planned Parenthood of Michigan.

And for now, Planned Parenthood of Michigan will keep its clinic in Jackson County, and elsewhere in Michigan, open and ready to provide services to women.

“We do want to be clear that abortion is legal in Michigan. Planned Parenthood won an injunction against the 1931 abortion ban. That is in place,” said Phenicie.

A 1931 Michigan law makes abortion a felony punishable by four years in prison. Court filings show that Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office informed county prosecutors they do not have the authority to enforce that law whole the temporary injunction is in place.

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