Oakland County judge issues order to stop prosecution of abortion from 1931 ban

LANSING – Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Cunningham granted a temporary restraining order to prohibit enforcement of Michigan’s 1931 statute criminalizing abortion. The injunction prohibits local county prosecutors from criminally prosecuting abortion in Michigan while the order is pending.

The Michigan Court of Appeals overturned the May ruling that blocked the 1931 state law from going into effect. The law restricts almost all forms of abortion, regardless of incest and rape and was suspended in a Michigan Court of Claims ruling in a case involving Planned Parenthood. 

The Michigan Department of Attorney General filed a motion for a temporary restraining order on Monday after the Michigan Court of Appeals issued a ruling that Michigan’s local county prosecutors are not bound by an injunction issued by Judge Elizabeth Gleicher in May.

"The legal fight in Michigan continues and this temporary restraining order ensures prosecutors cannot target women or providers in the short-term," said Dana Nessel. "Women should feel comfortable to move forward with their planned medical procedures and providers in those counties should feel confident to practice medicine free from the threat of prosecution while my department continues to pursue all legal options available to ensure reproductive healthcare in our state."

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer received praise for requesting the restraining order, granted by an Oakland County judge, to prevent county prosecutors from enforcing Michigan’s 1931 ban.

The move was praised by Dr. Farhan Bhatti, family physician in Lansing and Michigan State Lead for the Committee to Protect Health Care.

"Decisions around abortion should be made between women and their trusted doctors, not by politicians or prosecutors," Bhatti said. "We believe in trusting our patients to make their own decisions around pregnancy and abortion, and doctors must be able to use the full range of treatment options when serious complications arise in a pregnancy, including abortion. Banning abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, is dangerous and cruel. We’re grateful to Governor Whitmer for standing up for the reproductive freedom of our patients and women across Michigan."