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Whitmer Joins Governors Calling on Congress to Protect Access to Abortion
May 03, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3, 2022
Gov. Whitmer Joins Governors Calling on Congress to Protect Access to Abortion
As Supreme Court weighs overturning Roe, governors call for passage of Women’s Health Protection Act
LANSING, Mich. — After a draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade leaked yesterday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined 16 governors to call on the United States Senate to make legal protections in Roe into law. Last month, Governor Whitmer filed a lawsuit and used her executive authority to ask the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately resolve whether Michigan’s Constitution protects the right to abortion.
“Today, I am proud to join my fellow governors and call on Congress to immediately put the protections offered by Roe v Wade into federal law,” said Governor Whitmer. “In September, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would make access to abortion as protected by Roe into law. We urge the United State Senate to come together and get this done. This legislation is critical because we are seeing in real-time that legal precedent, no matter how old, is not permanent. We must act at the state and federal level to protect the right to legal abortion. That’s why last month, I filed a lawsuit and used my executive authority to urge the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately resolve whether Michigan’s state constitution protects the right to abortion. Because if Roe is officially overturned by the Supreme Court—which may happen any day now—abortion could become illegal in Michigan in nearly any circumstance, including in cases of rape and incest, because of a 1931 law on the books banning abortion in Michigan. We must protect the nearly 2.2 million women in Michigan and the tens of millions of American women who would lose the right to make decisions about their bodies. The words ‘Roe overturned’ are no longer theoretical. We are going to fight like hell to protect access to safe, legal abortion.”
Women’s Health Protection Act Letter
Today, a group of 17 governors came together to urge the United States Senate to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would put the protections offered by Roe into federal law. Since the overturn of Roe may come any day, we must act immediately to protect access to safe, legal abortion at the state and federal level. Governor Whitmer has filed suit with the Michigan Supreme Court urging them to identify if the state’s constitution includes the right to an abortion and has signed onto today’s letter asking lawmakers in DC to codify safe, legal abortion into federal law too.
The full letter can be found here.
Governor Whitmer’s Abortion Lawsuit
The governor’s legal action represents the first time a governor has filed a lawsuit to protect a woman's right to abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court signaled its willingness to consider overturning or circumscribing the federal right to an abortion.
The lawsuit asks the court to recognize a constitutional right to an abortion under the Due Process Clause of the Michigan Constitution. It also asks the court to stop enforcement of the 1931 Michigan abortion ban. The abortion ban violates Michigan’s due process clause, which provides a right to privacy and bodily autonomy that is violated by the state’s near-total criminal ban of abortion. It also violates Michigan’s Equal Protection Clause due to the way the ban denies women equal rights because the law was adopted to reinforce antiquated notions of the proper role for women in society.