Nessel says she won’t enforce 1931 Michigan abortion law 

The law would go into effect following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling vacating Roe v. Wade. But it will not be up to the Michigan attorney general to prosecute so enforcement could vary from county to county in Michigan.   



The anticipated overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court has put the focus on Michigan’s own anti-abortion law that would go back into effect following the ruling.

The 1931 state law criminalizes abortions, unless the life of the mother is at risk.

Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says she will not follow the law. The law would go into effect following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling vacating Roe v. Wade.

“I refuse to enforce this draconian law that will endanger [women’s] lives and put in jeopardy the health safety and welfare of the lives of each and every woman in the state of Michigan,” Nessel says.

Often, it will not be up to Nessel to prosecute, so enforcement could vary from county to county in Michigan.

Nessel says banning abortion just makes it more dangerous for women.

“The radical and extremist position of the Republicans in our state and all around the country completely contradicts with what the public wants and it really does place the lives of women in jeopardy.”

Polling has shown that support for abortion rights has been remarkably steady and remained over 50% since Roe v. Wade was enacted nearly 50 years ago. According to a new survey by Pew Research, 61% of U.S. adults say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 37% say it should be illegal in all or most cases.

The draft opinion by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that leaked last week signaled the high court’s conservative majority was set to overturn the landmark 1973 decision protected a woman’s right to have an abortion without government interference.

Before that decision, many women died trying to terminate pregnancies.

Nessel says criminalizing abortion is dangerous for women. “Let’s be clear. Women in my state and in states all over America are going to die because of this position.”

There is a petition campaign to amend the state constitution and guarantee a woman’s right to abortion care and birth control.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has also asked the Michigan Supreme Court to declare the law unconstitutional.

Several Democrat county prosecutors have also said they would not prosecute abortion cases, but some Republican prosecutors have said they will.

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  • Russ McNamara
    Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.