A 1931 law criminalizing abortion in Michigan is unconstitutional, a judge rules

Abortion rights protesters attend a rally outside the State Capitol on June 24 in Lansing, Michigan, following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Paul Sanya / AP


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Abortion rights protesters attend a rally outside the State Capitol on June 24 in Lansing, Michigan, following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Paul Sanya / AP

Ann Arbor, Mich. — Enforcement of Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban was blocked Wednesday by a judge who replaced her temporary order with a permanent injunction.

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher ruled that the due process clause of the Michigan Constitution is sufficient to cover reproductive rights.

“The Michigan Constitution protects the right of all pregnant people to make autonomous health decisions,” she wrote, and later: “Exercising the right to bodily integrity means exercising the right to determine when A woman in her life will be best prepared physically, emotionally and financially to be a mother.”

Gleicher’s initial provisional order pre-dated the US Supreme Court Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization rule in june

Chief Medical Officer for Planned Parenthood of Michigan, Dr. Sarah Wallet says this means abortion rights are protected, while there are still plenty of lawsuits pending.

“But it helps to reassure providers and patients who are really concerned that this may not always be the case in Michigan,” she told the Michigan Public Radio Network.

Michigan’s passive abortion law would threaten abortion providers with felony charges.

Gleicher’s opinion was somewhat technical. This did not directly prevent prosecutors from filing charges against abortion providers. Instead, she directed Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel to inform prosecutors that abortion rights are protected. Nessel had already said she would not file charges under the 1931 law.

The distinction is meaningless, according to attorney David Kalman representing county prosecutors, who say they are allowed to file criminal charges under the 1931 law.

“Unbelievable,” he said. “Talk about a change and a change in our constitutional form of government. I no longer realize the state of Michigan, according to Judge Gleicher, controls and runs all 83 county prosecutors’ offices in this state.”

This is one of several legal cases related to abortion going on in Michigan. It may comprise at least three decisions appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court. There is also a separate case that seeks to put an abortion rights amendment on the November ballot.

The court is expected to challenge the petition campaign this week, which nearly collected signatures – a record – in an attempt to have a proposed reproductive rights amendment on the November ballot.

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