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Whitmer Files Renewed Request with Michigan Supreme Court to Constitutionally Protect Right to Abortion in Michigan


August 4, 2022


Gov. Whitmer Files Renewed Request with Michigan Supreme Court to Constitutionally Protect Right to Abortion in Michigan

Whitmer has led nation in ongoing effort to fight for women and health care providers, taken number of historic steps to protect reproductive freedom

LANSING, Mich.Yesterday evening, Governor Gretchen Whitmer again urged the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately consider her lawsuit from April, which asks the court to decide if Michigan’s state constitution protects the right to abortion. On Monday, a morning ruling from the Michigan Court of Appeals caused confusion by clearing a path for county prosecutors to prosecute doctors and nurses for providing reproductive care. That same day, Governor Whitmer secured a temporary restraining order against prosecutors with abortion clinics in their counties, ensuring those health care providers could keep doing their jobs. The governor’s latest filing with the Michigan Supreme Court highlights this recent legal confusion and the pressing need it shows for the state’s highest court to step in. The filing builds on her ongoing efforts to protect abortion in Michigan after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v Jackson overturning Roe v Wade.

“Today, I urged the Michigan Supreme Court to take up my lawsuit to constitutionally protect abortion in Michigan. The current lack of legal clarity has already caused confusion for women, doctors and nurses, and health care systems multiple times,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer.Monday’s fire drill is yet another example of why the Michigan Supreme Court must act. A legal patchwork that changes day to day, county to county is untenable. We need certainty that access to abortion is constitutionally protected in Michigan. Every day we delay, health care providers will question if they are able to provide care safely, or if their work will lead to prosecution and possible jail time. I will keep fighting like hell to protect Michigan women.”


The notice of intervening development can be viewed here.

Background on New Motion with Michigan Supreme Court

On the morning of Monday, August 1, a decision from the Michigan Court of Appeals cleared a path for county prosecutors to use Michigan’s extreme 1931 abortion ban to prosecute doctors and nurses and jail them for doing their jobs. Hours later, Governor Whitmer filed a temporary restraining order, and in the evening, the Oakland Circuit Court approved her request, ensuring nurses and doctors in the affected counties could care for their patients.

“The fact that the 1931 law can criminalize healthcare providers for doing their jobs is going to extremes. The ban will strip women of their reproductive freedom,” said La Cracha Handy, Emergency Room Health Unit Coordinator. “As a woman living in Michigan, I am grateful that Governor Whitmer is fighting like hell to ensure doctors and nurses can continue doing their jobs, and that us women will have a right to make our own medical decisions.”

“As an obstetrician/gynecologist, it is my duty to provide compassionate, evidence-based care to my patients,” said Stephanie Fleming, MD FACOG.  “It is frustrating as a provider and terrifying as a human to have the provider-patient relationship eroded and degraded by lawmakers who want jurisdiction over medical decision-making. Comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion care, is health care. This fact is not dependent on the state or county we reside or work in. I am deeply appreciative of Governor Whitmer's continued fight to allow reproductive health care professionals throughout Michigan to provide the best care possible to our patients.

Governor Whitmer’s Actions to Protect Reproductive Freedom

  • April 7: Filed a lawsuit to ask the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately resolve whether Michigan’s constitution protects the right to an abortion.
  • April 7: Penned an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press explaining her action and highlighting that 7 in 10 Michiganders support the rights affirmed by Roe.
  • May 3: Joined 16 other states to urge the United States Senate to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act and enshrine Roe’s protections in federal law.
  • May 9: Penned an op-ed in the New York Times explaining why she isn’t waiting for Congress to act and urging fellow pro-choice governors, state representatives, private businesses, and citizens to take action to protect reproductive rights.
  • May 25: Signed an executive directive instructing state of Michigan departments and agencies to identify and assess opportunities to increase protections for reproductive healthcare, such as contraception. The executive directive also 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.
  • June 23: Launched a new consumer website to educate Michiganders about the availability of no-cost contraception with most insurance plans.
  • June 24: On the day of the Dobbs decision, filed a motion urging the Court to immediately consider her lawsuit.
  • June 27: Followed up with an additional notice to the Court urging them to immediately consider her lawsuit.
  • June 29: Sent a letter to Michigan’s insurers urging them to take steps to ensure Michiganders have coverage for reproductive health care to the fullest extent possible under current coverage.
  • July 6: Joined with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to launch a public effort to educate Michiganders and health care providers about the difference between emergency contraception and medication abortion. The public effort will disseminate information about the differences between medication abortion and emergency contraception to all local health departments throughout Michigan, healthcare providers throughout the state, and the public.
  • July 7: Called on the federal government to clarify and protect Michiganders’ right to cross the US-Canada border to seek reproductive health care or prescription medication including medication abortion.
  • July 11: Urged President Biden to make birth control available over the counter without a prescription.
  • July 13: Signed an executive order refusing to extradite women or health care providers who come to Michigan seeking reproductive freedom.
  • July 22: Called on FDA to reduce barriers to medication abortion.
  • August 1: Secured a restraining order blocking certain county prosecutors from enforcing the 1931 abortion ban after a court cleared a path for them to do so earlier on the same day.