LANSING, Mich. — A hearing over the right to an abortion in Michigan is still going on, but the headline Wednesday night is that a temporary retraining order blocking the enforcement of Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban by county prosecutors is still in effect until an Oakland County Circuit Court judge rules on a broader preliminary injunction.
“I just signed an order moments ago just in light of the fact that this hearing will probably continue into tomorrow just based on the timing of the witness testimony– that the temporary restraining order, that was issued on Aug. 1 as well as continued Aug. 3, remains in full force and effect until this court can issue a ruling following this hearing," said Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Cunningham.
Cunningham made that announcement at the start of Wednesday’s hearing. The order prevents county prosecutors from enforcing Michigan’s abortion ban, which Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has argued is unconstitutional. Lawyers from the state argued just that on Wednesday.
"There is no greater violation of bodily integrity that I can think of than for the criminal law enforcement authority of the state of Michigan to come to a person that is pregnant and say you must- despite any health risks, despite any physical, psychological, despite the advice from your physician, despite any conditions you may have– you must remain pregnant under pain of potential prosecution," said Michigan Assistant Attorney General Linus Banghart-Linn.
David Kallman, a lawyer representing the two prosecuting attorneys arguing for Michigan’s 1931 abortion law to take effect, which includes Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jerry Jarzynka, said Wednesday that the lawsuit sets a dangerous precedent.
“It’s our position, your honor, that to allow the governor to continue this lawsuit– to change, repeal, nullify or amend–pick your word, this valid statute without jurisdiction is a process that puts all Michigan statutes at risk," said Kallman. "And to allow this lawsuit would open the floodgates to allow future governors to challenge or repeal any future statute that they don’t like."
Judge Cunningham also heard from witnesses like Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Officer Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian and Dr. Lisa Harris with Michigan Medicine.
The court will reconvene on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. We’ll continue following this story as it develops.
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