Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asks state Supreme Court to protect abortion

The historic overturning of Roe v. Wade by the United States Supreme Court has left the decision of whether abortions can be legal up to every individual state. 

As of June 24, the day of the ruling, 24 states do not currently have an abortion ban in place. That leaves 26 states, including Michigan, that have laws in place to ban abortions on some level. However, in Michigan, the 1931 law is being challenged on multiple fronts with a court issuing an injunction against the law in May. 

The ultimate fate of the 1931 law is still up in the air but now, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is asking the state's supreme court to take on the case and block the law from going into effect.

Whitmer filed a motion to urge the Michigan Supreme Court to take up the issue immediately, saying the state's "extreme 1931 law banning abortion without exceptions for rape or incest and criminalizing doctors and nurses who provide reproductive care".

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Under the state law, with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, abortions are legal in the state if they are necessary to "preserve the life of such woman."

Additionally, the same bill makes it illegal to sell emergency contraception drugs. That means the pill commonly referred to as ‘The morning after pill’ or ‘Plan B’ would be illegal.

Whitmer said the abortion ban violates the state's due process clause, which provides a right to privacy and bodily autonomy, and the state supreme court needs to act immediately.

"Today, I filed a motion urging the court to immediately take up my lawsuit to protect abortion in Michigan. 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," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. 

MORE: With Roe v. Wade overturned, cloud of uncertainty forms over Michigan abortion access

In mid-May, shortly after the draft of the Supreme Court's decision was released, a Michigan judge ruled the 1931 law was not constitutional. The case was taken to the Michigan Court of Claims by Planned Parenthood.

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

Judge Elizabeth Gleicher sided with Planned Parenthood in her ruling on that case.

"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. "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 Planned Parenthood case and Whitmer's case are unrelated but are both seeking to strike down the 1931 law.