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Attorney General Nessel Issues Statement on Anniversary of Roe Decision
January 22, 2024
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued the following statement on the 51st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision:
“When the United States Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Roe v. Wade 51 years ago, the Court recognized the principles of equality and privacy for every American resident. Today's anniversary comes at a pivotal time - it is the second year since Roe was overturned and these rights were remanded to the states to decide, and on the cusp of an election, which could change the scope of women’s health for years to come.
“It reminds us that we cannot rest on our laurels, trusting that the protections which rely solely on judicial precedent will remain constant over time; we must do more to ensure that our essential rights cannot be stolen on the whim of a single court's opinion. But here in Michigan, we can also take today to celebrate our successes: the historic support in the petitioning and passage of Prop 3 and legislative advancements in repealing harmful laws which undermined the health, safety, and wellbeing of the people of our state.
“In 2022, when Roe was overturned, my department fought tirelessly to preserve bodily autonomy and personal freedom for all Michigan residents. We have continued that fight to stop efforts to strip away access to mifepristone and misoprostol, and we will continue that fight against any entity, at the local, state, or national level, who attempts to interfere with our ability to make our most private healthcare decisions. I vow to continue to do so for as long as I am in office.”
Nessel has been an outspoken advocate for reproductive health since taking office in 2019. The Attorney General has joined in multi-state amicus briefs to support access to healthcare in Idaho and Indiana, and has also joined coalitions seeking to preserve access to medication abortion nationwide.
When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, triggering Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban statute to go into effect, Nessel made it clear that she would not use the resources of her office to defend the statute, which criminalized abortion. She called for the repeal of the 1931 abortion law and in March of this year, the Michigan Legislature voted to do just that. Nessel also filed a brief in support of placing abortion access on the November 2022 ballot. Once on the ballot, Proposal 3 passed with the support of 57 percent of Michigan voters, enshrining abortion rights into Michigan’s constitution.
In November of last year, Right to Life of Michigan, along with Republican lawmakers and others opposed to Michiganders’ rights to abortion, filed a federal lawsuit seeking to invalidate and enjoin Section 28 of Article 1 of the Michigan Constitution, which became the law following the passage of Proposal 3. The lawsuit names Nessel, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson as defendants and seeks to overturn the will of the People of Michigan.
In overturning Roe, the Supreme Court gave states the right to decide whether and how to regulate abortion. The People of Michigan responded by overwhelmingly voting to enshrine reproductive freedoms, including the right to an abortion, in our state Constitution.