Whitmer asks state Supreme Court to strike abortion banApril 7, 2022
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer filed a lawsuit asking the Michigan Supreme Court to recognize a right to abortion under the Due Process Clause of the Michigan Constitution.
The request follows a U.S. Supreme Court May decision to hear Mississippi’s appeal of a 2019 decision, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. In that decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a previous decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, overturning a state law prohibiting abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.
How the nations’ top court rules on Dobbs v. Jackson could overturn or adjust the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which essentially legalized abortion nationwide. This occurred a matter of weeks after Michigan had rejected a ballot proposal to legalize abortion in November 1972.
“In the coming weeks, we will learn if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Whitmer said in a statement. “If Roe is overturned, abortion could become illegal in Michigan in nearly any circumstance – including in cases of rape and incest – and deprive Michigan women of the ability to make critical health care decisions for themselves. This is no longer theoretical: it is reality. That’s why I am filing a lawsuit and using my executive authority to urge the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately resolve whether Michigan’s state constitution protects the right to abortion.”
This year, Roe could be overturned in the Dobbs v. Jackson case, triggering Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban that Whitmer estimated could affect 2.2 million Michigan women.
“However we personally feel about abortion, a woman’s health, not politics, should drive important medical decisions. A woman must be able to make her own medical decisions with the advice of a healthcare professional she trusts – politicians shouldn’t make that decision for her,” Whitmer said.
The 1931 law criminalizes abortion as a misdemeanor but the passage of Roe v. Wade rendered the earlier law unenforceable.
“A near total abortion ban would rob women of their reproductive freedom and the ability to decide whether and when to have a child. It also would rob women of their economic freedom and their right to decide whether to become a parent: the biggest economic decision a woman will make in her lifetime.
The lawsuit asks the court to stop enforcement of the 1931 abortion ban, arguing it violates Michigan’s due process clause protecting a right to privacy and bodily autonomy.
In 2020, 29,669 abortions were performed in Michigan.
This article was originally posted on Whitmer asks state Supreme Court to strike abortion ban