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Governor Whitmer Welcomes Preliminary Injunction Against Michigan 1931 Law Criminalizing Abortion


May 17, 2022


Governor Whitmer Welcomes Preliminary Injunction Against Michigan’s 1931 Law Criminalizing Abortion

Judge grants injunction in suit brought by Planned Parenthood, Governor presses forward on her lawsuit to establish abortion as a right under the Michigan Constitution

LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued the following statement after a state judge granted a preliminary injunction in a suit brought by Planned Parenthood against Michigan’s unconstitutional 1931 law criminalizing abortion. 

“Today marks an important victory for Michiganders,” said Governor Whitmer. “The opinion from the Michigan Court of Claims is clear and sends the message that Michigan’s 1931 law banning abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, should not go into effect even if Roe is overturned.It will help ensure that Michigan remains a place where women have freedom and control over their own bodies.

“But our work is not over,” Whitmer continued. “I want every Michigander to know: no matter what happens in DC, I’m going to fight like hell to protect access to safe, legal abortion in Michigan. 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 once and for all. While today’s preliminary injunction offers immediate, critical relief, we need the Michigan Supreme Court to weigh in and establish the right to abortion under our state constitution. We must protect the rights of nearly 2.2 million women in Michigan to make decisions about their bodies because, however we personally feel about abortion, a woman’s health, not politics, should drive important medical decisions.”

Michigan’s Pre-Roe Ban

The current version of Michigan’s law criminalizing abortion without exceptions for rape or incest was enacted in 1931. In 1973, the passage of Roe v. Wade rendered Michigan’s 1931 ban unconstitutional and abortion became legal in the state of Michigan. This year, Roe could be overturned in the Dobbs v. Jackson case.

Governor Whitmer’s Lawsuit

The governor filed a lawsuit and asked the Michigan Supreme 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. 

Michiganders on Abortion

For Michiganders, this issue is beyond settled. According to a poll from January 2022, 67.3% of Michiganders support Roe and 65.7% support repealing Michigan’s 1931 trigger ban on abortion. Over 77%, believe abortion should be a woman’s decision.  A sizeable majority of Michiganders agree that abortion is a decision to for a woman to make in consultation with a medical professional she trusts.