The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to let a Texas ban on most abortions remain in force — at least for now — prompted warnings and cheers from advocates in Michigan who noted the state still has a 90-year-old ban on the books if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Even before the Texas case arrived at the high court, the justices had planned this fall to hear a major case from Mississippi, which wants to enforce an abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
“Here in Michigan, we face an especially dangerous threat. Because we have a pre-Roe law banning abortion on the books, access to abortion in Michigan would be in danger if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade,” Dr. Sarah Wallett, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood of Michigan, said in a statement.
It is unclear whether the 1931 law, which dates to the 1800s, automatically would take effect if the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court precedent were overturned. The law makes it a felony to use an instrument or administer any substance with the intent “to procure the miscarriage” of a woman unless necessary to preserve her life.
Genevieve Marnon, legislative director for Right to Life of Michigan, said: “When Roe is overturned, Michigan will be an abortion-free state, and we are hopeful that will take place next year after the (Mississippi) case is heard.”
Democrats’ attempts to repeal the 1931 law have been blocked in the Republican-controlled Legislature. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has vowed to veto GOP-proposed abortion restrictions.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, has said it is likely the high court’s conservative majority will overturn Roe and has said she will not enforce the state’s abortion ban.
An option on both sides could be to organize a ballot initiative, though strategists said it was too early to say, in part because of uncertainty over what the justices will do.