Michigan’s abortion ban was suspended. Now what?

MichMash host Cheyna Roth is joined by Lauren Gibbons of Bridge Michigan to talk about what a recent court decision means for Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Stop the Bans Abortion Rights Rally

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A draft opinion in the upcoming abortion rights case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was leaked a few weeks ago. The opinion, authored by justice Samuel Alito, indeed shows an intention to functionally overturn Roe v. Wade. Roe is the landmark case that granted a constitutional right to an abortion. The final, and binding, opinion is expected to be released in June.
But there have been several efforts in Michigan to circumvent the state’s so-called trigger law that would make it a crime to obtain an abortion in the state if Roe does fall. And one of those efforts is a court case that saw movement this week.

Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher filed a preliminary injunction saying Michigan cannot enforce its 1931 abortion ban. And since Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says she won’t appeal the decision, it looks like the injunction will stand, for now.

Exceptions and uncertainty

But the decision raises new questions, like what exceptions currently exist in the law. One exception to the dormant law’s ban on abortion is a protection for the life of a mother, but what counts as “saving the life of the mother” is unclear. However, there is no exception for rape or incest. This uncertainty could put medical professionals in a gray area of whether to obey one of the strictest abortion laws in the country, or to protect the life of a patient.

Elections and ballot initiatives

Meanwhile, both abortion rights and anti-abortion groups in Michigan are likely to use ballot initiatives to try and bring about new laws in the state. All of the uncertainty and changes taking place in Michigan as a result of the SCOTUS leak have raised the stakes for this year’s midterm elections, and abortion will likely be a motivating factor for both Republican and Democratic voters this fall.

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  • David Leins
    David Leins is a Podcast Coordinator and Producer at WDET. He also oversees the StoryMakers program. When he isn't making radio and podcasts, David is probably on a hike somewhere marveling at the trees.