Michigan judge suspends state's 1931-era abortion ban in Planned Parenthood case

The Michigan Court of Claims has suspended the state's 1931-era abortion ban in the case brought forward by Planned Parenthood.

The judge said the group had a "substantial likelihood" of winning the case, which challenges the ban as unconstitutional.

The ban, which includes abortions in the case of rape or incest and is considered one of the most stringent in the country, would go into effect if Roe V. Wade is overturned, as was indicated by a draft opinion leaked by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"From a constitutional standpoint, the right to obtain a safe medical treatment is indistinguishable from the right of a patient to refuse treatment," Gleicher said.

Gleicher said other Michigan laws regulating abortion will remain in full effect.

"After 50 years of legal abortion in Michigan, there can be no doubt but that the right of personal autonomy and bodily integrity enjoyed by our citizens includes the right of a woman, in consultation with her physician, to terminate a pregnancy," the judge said.

The Planned Parenthood case is not the same one that was taken up by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Whitmer has sought to fast-track her own legal challenge of the 1931 law to the Michigan Supreme Court. 

In her case, Whitmer asked the high court to recognize the constitutional right to an abortion under the Due Process Clause in the Michigan Constitution. She's called the move preemptive. 

However, state Attorney General Dana Nessel has criticized the case brought by Planned Parenthood, arguing it lacks jurisdiction since there is no currently acting law to contend.

Both cases contain similar arguments, but were filed in separate courts. 

Whitmer, a Democrat, called the decision a victory.

It "sends the message that Michigan’s 1931 law banning abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, should not go into effect even if Roe is overturned," Whitmer said. "It will help ensure that Michigan remains a place where women have freedom and control over their own bodies."

In May, Politico published a leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion. The document indicates the court could be poised to overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.