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Michigan lawmakers, organizations react to Roe v. Wade being overturned

Michigan Capitol
Posted at 10:45 AM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 17:43:50-04

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan lawmakers and organizations are reacting to the U.S. Supreme Court opinion released Friday that overturned the 1973 landmark case of Roe v. Wade.

In a 6-3 decision, the Court ruled in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization Friday to overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Planned Parenthood of Michigan released a series of tweets reacting to the news saying the Court "has overturned nearly 50 years of precedent and taken away our constitutional right to abortion."

"Here in Michigan, abortion will remain legal for the foreseeable future," the Twitter thread said. "Our doors are open and you can still get care. If you have an appointment, you can keep it. If you need an appointment, you can make one at ppmi.org. All people — no matter where they live — should have the right to make deeply personal decisions about their health, lives and future without political interference."

The statement went on to say that "Planned Parenthood of Michigan will keep fighting with everything we've got to make sure all people get to determine the course of their own life."

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel released the following statement:

The overturning of Roe is not just the loss of a right; it is the erosion of our status as equal citizens under the law. As a nation, we trust in our highest court to hold sacred their duty, free from political whim. Today’s decision sets a dangerous precedent in reversing 50 years’ of settled law; creating extraordinary upheaval in the American legal system; and putting at risk other individual rights that generations of Americans fought to secure and preserve.

Now we must do what our courts have failed to do: we must act to ensure that women are not permanently relegated to second-class citizens in this country. I will continue to fight for a women’s right to choose with the full weight of my office. Michigan residents must continue to fight for reproductive rights at the ballot box in November.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also released a statement following the Dobbs v. Jackson opinion being released saying that she will continue to fight against anti-abortion legislation.

Today is a sad day for America as an unelected group of conservative judges act squarely against the will of the people and medical expertise. We can all sense the despair that tens of millions of Americans—our neighbors, family members and friends—are feeling right now. However we personally feel about abortion, health—not politics—should drive important medical decisions.

With today's decision, Michigan's antiquated 1931 law banning abortion without exceptions for rape or incest and criminalizing doctors and nurses who provide reproductive care takes effect. For now, a Michigan court has put a temporary hold on the law, but that decision is not final and has already been challenged. The 1931 law would punish women and strip away their right to make decisions about their own bodies. I am deeply disappointed that Michigan’s Republican legislative leaders have been in court defending this draconian ban, to the detriment of women and families. Some legislators have gone a step further, proposing a 10-year prison sentence for abortion providers and a 20-year sentence for anyone manufacturing, selling or distributing birth control medication.

I want every Michigander to know that I am more determined than ever to protect access to safe, legal abortion. Now is the time to use every tool in our toolbox to protect women and reproductive health care. 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. We need to clarify that under Michigan law, access to abortion is not only legal, but constitutionally protected. In addition, my recent executive directiveinstructs all state departments and agencies not to cooperate with authorities from other states who want to prosecute women seeking legal abortion care and instructs departments to increase protections for reproductive healthcare.

I will fight like hell to protect every Michiganders’ right to make decisions about their own body with the advice of a medical professional they trust. I will not give in or give up for my kids, your kids, and the future of our great state.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II joined with Gov. Whitmer in releasing a statement and said that he and Gov. Whitmer will "protect access to safe, legal abortion" in the state.

Today is a tragic day for Americans and Michiganders. Against medical expertise and the overwhelming majority of Americans who support this constitutional right, a group of conservative judges we did not elect have stripped access to reproductive healthcare from tens of millions of Americans. We can all sense the hopelessness and despair that our neighbors, family, and friends are feeling right now.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and I are more determined than ever to protect access to safe, legal abortion. However we personally feel about abortion, health, not politics, should drive major medical decisions. Governor Whitmer and I are committed to ensuring this constitutional right is protected here in Michigan. We will strive to build a state where everyone’s reproductive rights are respected and affirmed. We will never stop fighting for our kids, your kids, and our state’s future.

Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan said that the country is taking "a dangerous step backward, undoing generations of progress."

"The Supreme Court utterly failed to defend an essential right supported by nearly 50 years of precedent – a right that women and families have relied on," Peters said in an email. "As a father and a husband, I'm terrified. As an American, I'm furious. And as a U.S. senator and chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, I'm more determined than ever before."

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan also released a statement following the Court's decision. She said on Twitter the Court "has ripped away this basic right" of access to reproductive health care.

"This Supreme Court decision will literally put women’s lives at risk. Twenty-six states are poised to move quickly to ban abortion—including 13 states with laws that can go into effect right now," Sen. Stabenow said. "It is hard to look past the anger that I and so many women across the country feel right now. From the president to the Congress to our local state legislatures, elections matter now more than ever."

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson released this statement Friday afternoon:

Today’s decision is a devastating blow to freedom in America. It does not align with the will of the people. It was not achieved through democratic means, and it does not reflect who we are as Americans.

The fight for a country that reflects, respects, and protects the voice of all Americans will continue. And I will continue to fight to ensure our elections enable every voice to be heard, every vote to be counted, and the will of the people to prevail.

Michigan state Sen. Rosemary Bayer wrote on Twitter that the Court "just criminalized your freedom to decide what's best for your life and your family."

Michigan state Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Jim Ananich released a statement on Twitter as well.

"Regardless of whether abortion is an option you would choose for yourself, one thing I know for sure is that it’s not the government’s place to decide it for you," the statement said. "[The Michigan Legislature] must immediately act to overturn the 1931 law criminalizing women's health care."

Michigan's Chief Medical Executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian issued the following statement on the decision:

Decisions about whether to end or continue a pregnancy should be made by a woman with the counsel of her family, her faith and her doctor – not politics. As a physician, I know that the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn nearly half a century of precedent protecting safe, legal abortion violates the trusted relationship between a patient and their doctor. This ruling completely supersedes and overrides a woman's ability to dictate her health care in consultation with her physician. And it clears a path for draconian laws like Michigan’s 1931 criminal abortion ban to take full effect.  

I am concerned about how this decision will negatively impact health outcomes for women and children, particularly women and children of color as they have greater disparities in health outcomes in general. A woman may choose to have an abortion for a wide variety of reasons – none of them are anyone’s business but hers. If women and doctors are under threat of prosecution and jail time due to Michigan’s abortion ban, women will have a more difficult time accessing critical health care. And with abortion not legally available, women are more likely to undergo unregulated procedures that can jeopardize their future reproductive health and in some cases be life threatening. 

SCOTUS’s ruling and Michigan’s abortion ban will not only punish women seeking abortion care, but it will also punish and criminalize health care providers who have dedicated their lives to providing the best care for their patients. It casts a dark shadow over the medical community – and doctors will now be forced to choose whether to honor our oath to our patients, to our communities and to our profession, or uphold a law that is unjust and discriminatory and does not reflect the wishes of the majority of Michigan residents.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum also issued a statement following the news of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Today is a dark day in our country’s history. This ruling marks one of the most egregious decisions made by such an august body, one that chooses to actively remove rights from women throughout this country. The ruling today sets women back 50 years, to a time when they did not have safe and ready access to health care and did not have autonomy over their bodies.

This ruling will do nothing to reduce the number of abortions in this country, but rather force those that seek this medical care to hide in the shadows and obtain unsafe abortions outside of medical facilities. To be absolutely clear, this ruling’s only impact will be to put women’s lives in jeopardy, unnecessarily.

In Michigan, there is a long history of straight, white, Republican men trying to inflict their ideological and religious dogma on the rest of us; silencing those who dare to stand against them. I count myself proud to have been a part of that opposition ten years ago when they silenced me on the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives during a debate on an anti-abortion bill, and I am proud to continue to stand with those fighting to get reproductive freedom on the ballot.

What those who are cheering have failed to realize is that they are vastly outnumbered, and while they have engineered a victory today through manipulation of the judicial nominating process, they will eventually lose the war on this issue. Vast majorities of the voting population disagree with the justices in their opinion today and voters will make those disagreements known at the ballot box, during this and every election until womens’ medical rights are restored.
Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum

Michigan Right to Life also released a statement Friday morning after the Dobbs v. Jackson opinion was released.

The U.S. Supreme Court justices who voted to overrule Roe are on the right side of history today. This monumental day gives the states the ability to restore legal rights to the unborn hopefully, in turn, ceasing the unjust slaughtering of the innocent in our country. We stand by our justices and thank them for their courage and wisdom in overruling a law that has plagued our society for the past 50 years. 

We urge the public and pro-abortion activists to accept this decision without violence and retaliation. The overturning of Roe v. Wade was made possible by working with the legal system and following laws. We know that one day Michigan’s 1931 abortion law will be enforced again, and the unborn will be protected against ableism, sexism, and racism. We will continue to peacefully work towards this through the legal system. 

We will also continue to use our resources and time to protect the right to life... In the meantime, we know that lives will be saved every day and families will be finding support at the 150 pregnancy resource centers across the state. 

We honor the 63 million lives lost from abortion in the past 50 years by dedicating all our efforts towards keeping Michigan a life-affirming state. We cannot change the past but thanks to the overruling of Roe v. Wade, we can control the future for our children and families.
Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing

Protect Life Michigan said they will be celebrating the decision by hosting a rally at 6 p.m Friday at the Michigan Hall of Justice.

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor issued a statement Friday afternoon about the Court's decision.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court moved us backwards in terms of woman’s rights by striking down Roe v. Wade. I never thought I would see the day when 50 years of reproductive rights and protections would be removed. While Michigan is now governed by a 1931 law completely banning abortion, there is currently a court injunction on enforcement of that law. This antiquated law must be repealed. I am thankful that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel are moving to ensure this 1931 law is struck down and will continue to lead the fight at the state level to ensure women continue to have access to safe reproductive health care in Michigan.
Mayor Schor

Schor also issued an executive directive Friday that directs the Lansing Police Department to "not interfere with anyone obtaining, providing or assisting with reproductive health care until further notice."

The directive by the mayor is in response to an executive directive issued by Gov. Whitmer instructing state departments "not to cooperate with or assist authorities of any state in any investigation or proceeding against anyone for obtaining, providing or assisting someone else to obtain or provide reproductive health care that is legal where the health care is provided."

This is a developing story.

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