On Friday, in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the United States Supreme Court officially overturned Roe v. Wade, ruling women do not have a constitutional right to obtain an abortion. As a result, the legality of obtaining an abortion depends on laws of the state where you are located. In Michigan, a previously dormant law from 1931 criminalizes both performing and administering drugs to cause an abortion.
Both Planned Parenthood of Michigan and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have filed lawsuits seeking to have the 1931 law declared unconstitutional. The Michigan Court of Claims issued an injunction in May, which prevents the Michigan law from being enforced while the constitutional challenges play out in court. Accordingly, while the injunction remains in place and the legal challenges continue, abortion care tentatively remains legal in Michigan.
“The discussion really will be around what Michigan’s state constitution allows and whether or not the 1931 law is a violation of any protections in the Michigan state constitution.” —Jelani Jefferson Exum, University of Detroit Mercy Law School
Listen: The end of Roe v. Wade and what that means moving forward.
Jelani Jefferson Exum is a constitutional law expert and the dean of the University of Detroit Mercy Law School. She says the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling means the Michigan Constitution will ultimately determine whether the previously dormant 1931 law can be enforced. “The discussion really will be around what Michigan’s state constitution allows and whether or not the 1931 law is a violation of any protections in the Michigan state constitution,” says Exum. “If not, then we can expect to see that pretty total ban on abortion in Michigan unless there is further legislative action.”