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State Files Reply Brief in Support of Motion to Dismiss in Right to Life’s Prop 3 Lawsuit

LANSING – Today, in response to an amended complaint filed by anti-choice plaintiffs including Right to Life of Michigan and Republican lawmakers, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (PDF) on behalf of the defendants filed a reply brief in support of its motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which seeks to strike down the right to reproductive freedom. 

In the brief, Nessel argues that the Plaintiffs’ response further shows that their case lacks merit. The claims are far-fetched and implausible and fail to demonstrate that Article 28 prevents legislators from enacting Michigan law.

In the brief, the Department states, “Plaintiffs have not identified a single medical professional—either among themselves or their thousands of members—who has been forced, since § 28’s enactment a year and a half ago, to (1) provide care that conflicts with their sincerely held religious beliefs, or (2) decline to work or associate with a State operated hospital or facility based on a plausible and non-speculative fear of being required to compromise their sincerely held religious beliefs. That is not surprising as federal and state conscience laws protect medical professionals’ religious objections to providing abortion care.”

Nessel also issued a video highlighting nationwide attempts to strip the right to bodily autonomy, including a Supreme Court oral argument on Idaho’s reproductive freedom case, Moyle v. United States, also heard today.

Speaking about the challenge to Article 28, Nessel cautioned, “Make no mistake: this challenge seeks to undo the will of the voters so that they can strike down your constitutionally afforded bodily autonomy. The very lives, health and safety of the nearly 2.2 million Michigan women of reproductive age are at stake in this case.”


Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the issue of abortion was returned to the jurisdiction of individual states. To guard against the revival of an extreme, decades-old statute criminalizing all abortions except those performed to preserve the life of the pregnant individual and definitively resolve the issue within this State, Michigan voters passed Proposal 3 to amend the state Constitution and enshrine within it a right to reproductive freedom.

In November 2023, Right to Life of Michigan, along with Republican lawmakers and others opposed to Michiganders’ right to reproductive freedom, 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 Attorney General Dana Nessel, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson as defendants and seeks to overturn the will of the People of Michigan.

The Attorney General filed a motion to dismiss in late January. In response, plaintiffs amended their complaint. Today, the Department filed a reply in support of the Defendants’ motion to dismiss, arguing that Plaintiffs’ amended complaint remains fundamentally flawed and meritless. Response to the motion to dismiss was deficient. Nessel has been an outspoken advocate for reproductive health since taking office in 2019. The Attorney General has joined multi-state amicus briefs to support access to healthcare in Idaho and Indiana has also joined coalitions seeking to preserve access to medication abortion nationwide.

When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, reviving Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban statute, 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.


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