Oakland County judge extends suspension of Michigan abortion ban as arguments proceed over rule

An Oakland County judge announced the order suspending the law that criminalized abortion in Michigan would remain until Thursday. 

The key hearing on the status of Michigan abortion laws started Wednesday afternoon where Judge Jacob Cunningham heard testimony regarding the state's current 1931 abortion ban and the court order suspending its enforcement. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's chief medical executive will provide testimony in an Oakland County courthouse Wednesday afternoon after an appeals court ruled she doesn't need to testify in the case.

A judge placed a temporary restraining order on county prosecutors enforcing the state's current abortion ban, which includes no exceptions for rape or incest. The injunction was put in place the same day a court of appeals overruled a judge's opinion that suspended the 1931 ban.

The legal back-and-forth over the 90-year-old law has been going on since early 2022 when the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would be hearing a case challenging the legality of Roe V. Wade, which granted federal protections to abortion.

After a draft memo of the court's 6-3 ruling overturning the case leaked to the public, both Whitmer and Planned Parenthood filed related cases - the governor asking the state Supreme Court to weigh in on the constitutionality of the practice and the latter in a court of claims. 

Judge Elizabeth Gleicher ruled first prior to the official Supreme Court's release, putting in place a suspension of the abortion ban if Roe V. Wade were to be overturned. She ruled that way after determining that Planned Parenthood had a high chance of winning its case.

The Republican-led legislature filed lawsuits seeking to overturn the injunction. One attorney challenging abortion legality in Michigan David Kallman, who originally sought testimony from the governor in Wednesday's hearing, had also asked the Michigan Court of Appeals to overrule Gleicher.

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In a rapid-fire series of legal rulings, the appeals court overturned the case on Aug. 1., which authorized county prosecutors to enforce the ban. But after an emergency filing by Whitmer, an Oakland County judge upheld the temporary injunction.

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 Cunningham agreed after lawyers for Whitmer argued that extinguishing his Monday order would cause chaos around the state. The order was meant to hold until Aug. 17, when another hearing was scheduled.