Michigan Judge Rules Prosecutors Can’t Enforce 1931 Ban on Abortion

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Abortion in Michigan will remain legal for the time being after an Oakland County judge ruled Friday to grant an injunction that would block enforcement of the state’s 91-year-old ban on the procedure.

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in April sued to block the law from taking effect if Roe v. Wade were overturned, kicking off months of a legal back-and-forth that’s expected to continue until the November election, when a measure that would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution is expected to be on the ballot.

After a lengthy exposition of his decision, Circuit Court Judge Jacob J. Cunningham’s determination was fairly simple: The plaintiffs faced far greater harm if the 1931 abortion ban — which could be imminently overturned by the state supreme court or superseded by a voter referendum this fall — were enforced.

The 1931 law makes almost all abortions a felony with no exemptions for rape or incest, allowing it only in the vaguely defined instances where abortion is necessary to “preserve the life” of the mother. Abortion providers and people who use medication to self-manage an abortion could face up to four years in prison.



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