Politics

Update: Oakland Judge Blocks Michigan Prosecutors from Enforcing 1931 Abortion Ban

August 01, 2022, 5:57 PM

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Update: 5:45 p.m.  Monday -- Oakland County Circuit Judge James Cunningham issued a temporary restraining order Monday to block 13 county prosecutors with abortion providers in their jurisdictions from enforcing the state's 1931 abortion ban, the Detroit News reports.

The judge has set a Zoom hearing on the matter for Wednesday.

The request for the order came from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has made abortion rights one of the cornerstones of her campaign this year.  

It puts on hold a Michigan Court of Appeals ruling earlier in the day that said county prosecutors can criminally charge doctors and health workers under Michigan's 1931 abortion ban.

The Court of Apeals ruling overrode a decision by Michigan Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher, who issued a temporary injunction in May blocking state officials from enforcing the abortion ban. The ruling came in anticipation of the Roe v. Wade ruling by the Supreme Court several weeks later.

In a press release issued Monday before the Oakland Circuit Court ruling, Whitmer said of the Court of Appeals decision: 

“Today’s dangerous decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals clears a path for county prosecutors to use Michigan’s extreme 1931 abortion ban to prosecute doctors and nurses and jail them for doing their jobs. That is why I have taken immediate action and filed a request for a temporary restraining order against enforcement."

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Reported Earlier Monday

In a blow to abortion rights advocates, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Monday that county prosecutors can criminally charge doctors and health workers under Michigan's 1931 abortion ban.

The ruling overrides a decision by Michigan Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher, who issued a temporary injunction in May blocking state officials from enforcing the abortion ban. The ruling came in anticipation of the Roe v. Wade ruling by the Supreme Court several weeks later. 

"Because county prosecutors are local officials, jurisdiction of the Court of Claims does not extend to them," the court wrote in its ruling, according to WXYZ.

The Court of Appeals order does not take effect for 21 days, the Detroit News notes. It reports Planned Parenthood will be exploring options regarding the ruling, citing Mark Brewer, an attorney for Planned Parenthood of Michigan.

The 1931 law states: 

"Any person who shall wilfully administer to any pregnant woman any medicine, drug, substance or thing whatever, or shall employ any instrument or other means whatever, with intent thereby to procure the miscarriage of any such woman, unless the same shall have been necessary to preserve the life of such woman, shall be guilty of a felony, and in case the death of such pregnant woman be thereby produced, the offense shall be deemed manslaughter." 

Attorney General Dana Nessel had indicated that her office would not enforce the law. But there were county prosecutors who wanted to. Then again, prosecutors in Wayne, Oakland, Ingham, Washtenaw, Genesee, Marquette and Kalamazoo said they would not. 

With that in mind, people may come from more conservative counties to more liberal ones to get an abortion. 

The decision on abortions could ultimately be decided by the Michigan Supreme Court.


Read more:  WXYZ


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