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Whitmer Statement on Ruling in Dobbs v Jackson
June 24, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2022
Gov. Whitmer Statement on Ruling in Dobbs v Jackson
With series of executive actions, Whitmer has led the nation acting to protect right to abortion
LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued the following statement after the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling in Dobbs v Jackson overturning Roe v Wade.
Governor Whitmer Statement
“Today is a sad day for America as an unelected group of conservative judges act squarely against the will of the people and medical expertise. We can all sense the despair that tens of millions of Americans—our neighbors, family members and friends—are feeling right now. However we personally feel about abortion, health—not politics—should drive important medical decisions.
“With today's decision, Michigan's antiquated 1931 law banning abortion without exceptions for rape or incest and criminalizing doctors and nurses who provide reproductive care takes effect. For now, a Michigan court has put a temporary hold on the law, but that decision is not final and has already been challenged. The 1931 law would punish women and strip away their right to make decisions about their own bodies. I am deeply disappointed that Michigan’s Republican legislative leaders have been in court defending this draconian ban, to the detriment of women and families. Some legislators have gone a step further, proposing a 10-year prison sentence for abortion providers and a 20-year sentence for anyone manufacturing, selling or distributing birth control medication.
“I want every Michigander to know that I am more determined than ever to protect access to safe, legal abortion. Now is the time to use every tool in our toolbox to protect women and reproductive health care. That is why I filed a lawsuit in April and used my executive authority to urge the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately resolve whether Michigan’s state constitution protects the right to abortion. We need to clarify that under Michigan law, access to abortion is not only legal, but constitutionally protected. In addition, my recent executive directive instructs all state departments and agencies not to cooperate with authorities from other states who want to prosecute women seeking legal abortion care and instructs departments to increase protections for reproductive healthcare.
“I will fight like hell to protect every Michiganders’ right to make decisions about their own body with the advice of a medical professional they trust. I will not give in or give up for my kids, your kids, and the future of our great state.”
Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist Statement
“Today is a tragic day for Americans and Michiganders. Against medical expertise and the overwhelming majority of Americans who support this constitutional right, a group of conservative judges we did not elect have stripped access to reproductive healthcare from tens of millions of Americans. We can all sense the hopelessness and despair that our neighbors, family, and friends are feeling right now.
“Governor Gretchen Whitmer and I are more determined than ever to protect access to safe, legal abortion. However we personally feel about abortion, health, not politics, should drive major medical decisions. Governor Whitmer and I are committed to ensuring this constitutional right is protected here in Michigan. We will strive to build a state where everyone’s reproductive rights are respected and affirmed. We will never stop fighting for our kids, your kids, and our state’s future.”
Michigan’s Pre-Roe Ban & Injunction
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.
On May 17, 2022, a Michigan state judge granted a preliminary injunction in a suit brought by Planned Parenthood against Michigan’s unconstitutional 1931 law criminalizing abortion. This injunction temporarily blocks the abortion ban, emphasizing the need Governor Whitmer’s action to permanently protect legal abortion in Michigan.
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.
Reproductive Health Executive Directive
Governor Whitmer’s executive directive instructs departments not to cooperate with or assist authorities of any state in any investigation or proceeding against anyone for obtaining, providing, or assisting someone else to obtain or provide reproductive healthcare that is legal where the health care is provided.
State of Michigan departments and agencies must also identify and assess potential opportunities to increase protections for reproductive health care, consistent with applicable law. They must detail how they can increase choices available to protect mental, physical, and reproductive health; safeguard the privacy of individuals seeking care; and assure the safety of reproductive healthcare providers.
Additionally, departments and agencies that communicate directly with the public on reproductive issues must provide accessible, comprehensive information about the current cost and availability of reproductive care and increase public awareness about the availability and safety of contraception.
The executive directive can be viewed here.
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.