Jun 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Michigan Gov. Whitmer pushes state Supreme Court to protect abortion rights

Photo of Gretchen Whitmer speaking from a podium
Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, speaks during the Motor Bella Auto Show in Pontiac, Mich., on Sept. 21, 2021. Photo: Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Friday filed a motion asking the state Supreme Court to consider her abortion lawsuit in a bid to recognize it as a right under the Michigan constitution.

Why it matters: A 1931 ban criminalizes abortion in the state, but it has been dormant since Roe v. Wade took effect in 1973. The ban is still part of the state's penal code, however, and Whitmer is pushing to officially have it declared unconstitutional now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe.

  • The motion asks the state Supreme Court to set an expedited briefing schedule and schedule oral arguments as soon as possible.

What she's saying: "We need to clarify that under Michigan law, access to abortion is not only legal, but constitutionally protected. The urgency of the moment is clear—the Michigan court must act now," Whitmer said in a statement.

  • "Now is the time to use every tool in our toolbox to protect women and reproductive health care. That is why I filed a lawsuit in April and used my executive authority to urge the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately resolve whether Michigan’s state constitution protects the right to abortion."

The big picture: Republican lawmakers in Michigan have proposed legislation that would find anyone who performs — or attempts — to perform an abortion guilty of manslaughter except when the mother's life is in danger.

Go deeper: Where abortion will be illegal with Roe v. Wade overturned

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