Whitmer again asks high court to immediately clarify abortion access in Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has renewed her request for the state Supreme Court to clarify what protections those seeking abortions have in Michigan

As abortion supporters and opponents jockey for position over access to the medical procedure, the legal components over whether access is allowed in the state remains in limbo after multiple rulings this week.

A decision from the Michigan Court of Appeals on Monday initially cleared a path for county prosecutors to pursue charges against doctors and nurses that administer abortions - a violation of the 1931 ban on the practice.

The law, which carries no exceptions in the case of incest or rape, was suspended by a judge after the suspected overturning of Roe vs. Wade earlier this summer. When appeals court decision dropped Monday, Whitmer filed a request for a temporary injunction to pause the ruling.

An Oakland Circuit Court approved the request. Two days later, a judge granted the continuance of the restraining order, which prevents prosecutors from enforcing the abortion ban. The ruling received a mixture of opinions from prosecutors around the state.

"Patients, providers, doctors across the state now have some certainty moving forward," said Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit, a Democrat.

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David Kallman represents the prosecutors from Jackson and Kent counties - seeking to enforce the law. He wanted the temporary restraining order thrown out.

"People will not accept folks in judicial robes by fiat - making decisions in this area," said the attorney. "It needs to come through the people - through the legislative process so at least most people will accept it."

A hearing over the temporary restraining order is expected in the next two weeks. 

It's not just a subject that's being tossed back and forth in the legal world. Abortion is on the ballot in a number of states in the upcoming midterms and questions over access remains a pressing issue in Michigan.

Whitmer and Tudor Dixon - the Republican nominee for governor - both maintain divergent views on abortion access.

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In the governor's latest move, announced Thursday, she again asked the state Supreme Court to consider the lawsuit from April, which asks the high court to decide if the Michigan state constitution protects the right to an abortion.

"Today, I urged the Michigan Supreme Court to take up my lawsuit to constitutionally protect abortion in Michigan. The current lack of legal clarity has already caused confusion for women, doctors and nurses, and health care systems multiple times," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "Monday’s fire drill is yet another example of why the Michigan Supreme Court must act.