LANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s 1931 law, which criminalizes abortion, has long been dormant. It became unenforceable after the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade. But with that landmark decision potentially being struck down, one Republican legislator in the Michigan House introduced a bill that would once again make performing an abortion in Michigan illegal, a move Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has vowed to veto.
“I introduced the bill calling for from the moment of conception," said state Rep. Steve Carra of Three Rivers.
This week he introduced the Protection from Conception Act. It’s essentially a new version of Michigan’s 1931 law but with a few tweaks.
"[To] make it a little bit more clear so that it's more likely to be enforceable," he said.
Although it’s unlikely to gain enough support to be fully approved, if it passed the bill would make performing an abortion a felony, meaning the doctor who performs it could be punished with up to 10 years in jail and face a $100,000 fine.
The bill’s introduction comes as the majority of Michiganders, about 54 percent, support the right to an abortion, according to the Pew Research Center.
“Well, there's a lot of voices who haven't had a say on this," Carra said, "And that's the millions of lives who've been lost prior to ever being born.”
Carra’s legislation does not punish a woman who seeks an abortion nor does it criminalize contraception as long as it is administered quote “before the time when a pregnancy could be determined through conventional medical testing.”
Even so, Right to Life Michigan, who was not consulted on this bill, says that the components to ban abortion in Michigan are already on the books. In fact, the anti-abortion group says it may even be unnecessary.
"You never want to shoot friendly fire, but at the same time I do believe that, unfortunately, the timing of introduction of this bill, it can feed into some of the false narratives that have been spread around," said Genevieve Marnon, the legislative director at Right to Life Michigan. "Like the fact that women will be thrown in jail for a miscarriage, which is just patently untrue, or that women will be prosecuted for aborting of self aborting, which is also not true. We already have that in law. So, I think by codifying and putting this in a bill, it almost feeds the other side's narrative."
Gov. Whitmer has long voiced her disapproval for any law that would remove a woman's right to choose.
She reiterated that in a segment on NBC on Wednesday night.
“It is going to set women back decades," she said. "And the thought that young women today will have fewer rights that I’ve always had is infuriating.”
The bill here in Michigan faces a long road and is unlikely to reach the governor’s desk, but even if it does, Whitmer has vowed, repeatedly, to veto any anti-abortion legislation.
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