Sep 7, 2022 - Health

Michigan judge: State's 1931 anti-abortion law is unconstitutional

Photo of abortion rights protesters holding up signs in front of the Michigan state capitol
Abortion rights supporters gather outside the Michigan state capitol during a "Restore Roe" rally in Lansing on Sept. 7, 2022. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

A Michigan judge on Wednesday ruled that the state's 1931 near-total abortion ban is unconstitutional.

Why it matters: The law, which makes abortion illegal unless it is necessary to save the pregnant person's life, was already temporarily blocked. Though it's likely to face an appeal, Wednesday's decision does not affect abortion access; it simply permanently blocks the ban.

What they're saying: By criminalizing abortion, the ban "prevents a woman who seeks to exercise a constitutional right from controlling her ability to work or to go to school, and thereby determining for herself the shape of her present and future life," Michigan Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth L. Gleicher wrote in the opinion.

  • "Despite that men play necessary role in the procreative processes, the law deprives only women of their ability to thrive as contributing participants in world outside the home and as parents of wanted children."
  • The state's Constitution "does not permit the Legislature to impose unjustifiable burdens on different classes of pregnant women. It also forbids treating pregnant women as unequal to men in terms of their ability to make personal decisions about when and whether to be a parent," Gleicher said.

The big picture: The state Supreme Court has until Friday to decide whether a proposal to enshrine abortion access into law and nullify the 1931 law will make the Nov. 8 ballot.

Go deeper: Ballot proposals head to Michigan Supreme Court

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