LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer has filed a motion urging the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately consider her lawsuit and issue a decision on whether Michigan’s state constitution protects the right to abortion.
Whitmer filed the motion just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court released its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade.
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The lawsuit asks the court to recognize a constitutional right to an abortion under the Due Process Clause of the Michigan Constitution and also asks the court to stop enforcement of the 1931 Michigan abortion ban.
The law was enacted in 1931 and criminalizes abortion without exceptions for rape or incest. The law was rendered unconstitutional in 1973 with the passage of Roe v. Wade.
Back in May, a state judge granted a preliminary injunction in a suit brought by Planned Parenthood against Michigan’s 1931 law, temporarily blocking the abortion ban. While the judge did suspend the ban on abortion, an appeals court has since scheduled a hearing in July so abortion opponents can attempt to overturn that decision.
“Today, I filed a motion urging the court to immediately take up my lawsuit to protect abortion in Michigan. We need to clarify that under Michigan law, access to abortion is not only legal, but constitutionally protected. The urgency of the moment is clear—the Michigan court must act now,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “With today's U.S. Supreme Court decision, Michigan's extreme 1931 law banning abortion without exceptions for rape or incest and criminalizing doctors and nurses who provide reproductive care is poised to take effect. If the 1931 law goes into effect, it will punish women and strip away their right to make decisions about their own bodies. That is why I filed a lawsuit in April and used my executive authority to urge the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately resolve whether Michigan’s state constitution protects the right to abortion. I will fight like hell to protect the rights of Michigan women.”
Supporters of anti-abortion laws want to reduce the number of women who seek the procedure and discourage them from going to other states. At least 276,000 women terminated their pregnancies outside their home state between 2012 and 2017, according to a 2019 Associated Press analysis of data collected from state reports and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 630,000 abortions were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2019, the latest data available, although information from some states is missing.
More than half of U.S. abortions are now done with pills rather than surgery, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The trend has spiked during the pandemic with the help of telemedicine. In 2020, pills accounted for 54% of all U.S. abortions, up from roughly 44% in 2019.
The number and rate of U.S. abortions increased from 2017 to 2020 after a long decline. That’s according to new figures released by Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.
This map shows the percentage change from 2019 to 2020 in abortions in each state. In Michigan, 31,510 abortions were performed in 2020.
Americans have nuanced attitudes on the topic. In an AP-NORC poll conducted last June, 61% said abortion should be legal in most or all circumstances in the first trimester of a pregnancy. However, 65% said abortion should usually be illegal in the second trimester and 80% said that about the third trimester. Many Americans said the procedure should be allowable under at least some circumstances even during the second or third trimesters.
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