LANSING, Mich. — Michigan's 1931 abortion ban is still on the books, but after voters decided to make abortion legal in last November's election, a group of lawmakers in the state House and Senate are now ready to take action and get that 92-year-old law fully repealed.
“We had to follow that through with actually changing the laws. We want to make sure nothing ever happens," said state Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Farmington Hills).
Bayer introduced legislation as part of a package of six bills that would repeal Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban.
“We needed to make sure that no medical person was going to be penalized for talking about birth control or for contributing to anything that would cause an abortion or a miscarriage," she said.
Each bill in the package tackles a different element of repealing the ban. Bayer’s removes the penalty for providing or assisting in an abortion, another updates Michigan’s corrections' code and another bill repeals the actual section of the law. Together, all of this makes doctors like Dr. Sarah Wallett more comfortable to provide care.
“There was a lot of uncertainty about what I would be able to do to care for my patients, and what that would mean for them," said Wallett, who works as a gynecologist and the chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood of Michigan. "The passage of Prop 3, and now knowing that the Legislature is hoping to repeal the 1931 abortion ban, makes me comfortable continuing to provide this care in Michigan, makes my patients feel safe in obtaining the health care that they need.”
But there's another side to this story, and for groups like Right to Life Michigan, losing the battle over abortion in November's election and these bills that followed are a rallying cry for more work.
“Now, we have to re-gear, retool and decide how are we going to make abortion illegal and unthinkable. How do we change the culture so that something like a Prop 3 would never even be imaginable? And that's really the goal of the pro-life movement," said Genevieve Marnon, the legislative director of Right to Life Michigan.
Democratic lawmakers hope their new majority will help move the legislation through the approval process and to the governor’s desk for signing.
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