Judge orders preliminary injunction blocking Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban

Abortion Texas Louisiana Clinic
Posted at 6:03 AM, Aug 19, 2022

(WXYZ) — Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Cunningham ordered a preliminary injunction blocking Michigan’s 1931 abortion law on Friday.

Judge Cunningham said the law is “dangerous and chilling to our state's population of childbearing people and the medical professionals who care for them."

The ruling came after a days-long court battle over reproductive rights.

The state was pushing for a continued pause on the enforcement of the 1931 law, which has been handed a variety of rulings from judges both before and after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Earlier this month, the state Court of Appeals allowed prosecutors to enforce the abortion ban, but in a separate case that same day, Cunningham issued a temporary restraining order while this case played out.

“By subjecting women to carry pregnancies in a forced manner, we are subjecting them to potentially negative health outcomes that they are not choosing for themselves,” Michigan's Chief Medical Executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian said in court.

The state also called on ob-gyn at Michigan Medicine Dr. Lisa Harris to testify. She points to the ambiguity of the current law and the challenges doctors could face in trying to follow it.

“How high does the risk of dying need to be to sort of count or qualify as a life-preserving abortion? The second is how imminent does the… how sick does a patient need to be to quality under that exception,” she said in court.

Most county prosecutors in Michigan have said they didn’t plan on enforcing the decades-old law, but prosecutors in Kent and Jackson counties argued they couldn’t rule it out.

Their attorney was in court this week arguing that this is not about someone’s belief in the right to abortion access, but rather the current law.

"The governor is required to enforce the law as it is, not in the way that she wants it to be," attorney David Kallman said.

The state wanted to keep this restraining order in place until the State Supreme Court determines if that 1931 ban is legal.