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Whitmer will 'fight like hell' to protect abortion access

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe. v. Wade, then the state AG race could determine whether abortion is criminalized or not.

Published: May 3, 2022 12:39pm

Updated: May 3, 2022 5:03pm

(The Center Square) -

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she’ll “fight like hell” to protect abortion access in Michigan.

She responded Monday night to a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft majority opinion from Politico claiming that the nation’s top court would overturn Roe v. Wade, which established abortion as a constitutional right.

Chief Justice Roberts confirmed the document’s authenticity today and ordered an investigation, the Associated Press reported. It was the first time a Supreme Court decision was leaked in modern U.S. history before it became official with a formal release.

Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett signed the opinion, Politico says.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear Mississippi’s appeal of a 2019 decision, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. In that decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a previous decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, overturning a state law prohibiting abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.

Whitmer continued: “To the nearly 2.2 million women in Michigan whose access to abortion hangs in the balance, I promise you this: I will fight like hell to make sure abortion remains safe, legal, and accessible in our state.”

In April, Whitmer asked the state Supreme Court to strike Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban that Roe. v. Wade overruled. On the same day, Planned Parenthood sued to overturn the abortion ban that Attorney General (AG) Dana Nessel has vowed not to enforce if triggered.

The lawsuits ask the court to stop enforcement of the abortion ban, arguing it violates Michigan’s due process clause protecting a right to privacy and bodily autonomy.

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe. v. Wade, then the state AG race could determine whether abortion is criminalized or not. The House GOP budget aims to allocate $750,000 to defend the constitutionality of state laws, specifically the abortion ban.

A “Reproductive Freedom For All” group is pushing a ballot petition to ask Michiganders if they want to create a state constitutional right to reproductive freedom.

To reach the Nov. 8, 2022 ballot, the group must collect 425,059 valid signatures by July 11, 2022. The petition drive would define the right as "the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including but not limited to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care.”

In November 1972, Michiganders rejected a ballot proposal to legalize abortion.

It’s an election year, and Matt DePerno, the GOP-endorsed and Trump-endorsed AG candidate, has said if elected, he plans to prosecute the 1931 law with no exceptions, including rape and incest, or even to save the life of the mother.

“I do not have exceptions to abortion,” he said in a video posted by Nessel in which he incorrectly describes the law as enacted in the 1950s.

“And I would enforce that law immediately when I am elected and sworn into office,” DePerno said.

In 2020, 29,669 abortions were performed in Michigan.

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