Jun 27, 2022 - News

Abortion remains legal in Michigan — for now

Abortion advocates march through Greektown
Abortion advocates march through Greektown hours after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Samuel Robinson/Axios

A temporary injunction against the state's long-dormant 1931 law criminalizing abortion is keeping the procedure legal in Michigan for now.

Driving the news: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer filed a motion after the decision asking the state Supreme Court to set an expedited briefing schedule to consider her lawsuit in a bid to recognize abortion as a right under the Michigan constitution.

What they're saying: "I think that it would be unfortunate, even if the court were to rule in favor of the governor, to rely upon the Michigan Supreme Court to save reproductive rights for Michigan residents," Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, told reporters Friday.

  • "If we've learned anything, it's that all rulings by any court are temporary in nature," Nessel said.

State of play: Michigan Democrats have launched an all-out campaign to collect signatures for the Reproductive Freedom for All ballot initiative which would codify reproductive rights into the state Constitution and eliminate Michigan's 1931 abortion ban.

  • The campaign needs 425,059 signatures from voters by July 11 to make the Nov. 8 ballot.
  • A successful ballot campaign, including approval by the majority of voters in November, would mean the Michigan Supreme Court would not be able to later impact reproductive rights, no matter who sits on the court.

The other side: Anti-abortion groups Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and Pro-Life Michigan held a celebration Friday outside a Livonia Planned Parenthood center.

The latest: The Beaumont-Spectrum health system will continue to perform abortions after telling staff Friday that it would abide by the 1931 law and halt the procedure at its hospitals, according to letters to staff obtained by Axios.

  • The Friday decision by Beaumont prompted widespread criticism, with abortion still legal here.
  • Beaumont-Spectrum noted its concerns about confusion and potential criminal liability around the injunction. But then in a third letter Saturday, CEO Tina Freese Decker announced the health system would "reinstate" its normal practice of performing abortions "when medically necessary."
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