GOP-led Legislature seeks to intervene in lawsuit opposing 1931 abortion ban in Michigan

Republicans want to make abortion illegal in the state if ‘Roe v. Wade’ is overturned

click to enlarge Michigan Legislature in Lansing. - Nagel Photography /
Nagel Photography /
Michigan Legislature in Lansing.

The Republican-led state Legislature is trying to upend a lawsuit aimed at keeping abortion legal in Michigan.

The House and Senate are asking the Court of Claims for permission to intervene as defendants in the lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood, which argues that Michigan's constitution protects abortion rights.

The Legislature also requested the court to reconsider its May 17 order in which it granted a preliminary injunction barring the enforcement of the bill if Roe v. Wade is reversed by the Supreme Court.

“There is no question that the Legislature has strong interests in ensuring that constitutional challenges to Michigan statutes present an actual controversy suitable for judicial resolution and, when necessary, in defending justiciable challenges,” the Legislature said in a motion filed Monday. “No existing party will adequately represent those interests here.”

Michigan is one of 26 states with laws banning abortion that would go back into effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision in 1973 that established the right for people to terminate their pregnancy. The case invalidated Michigan’s 1931 ban on abortions.

Both Attorney General Dana Nessel and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, both Democrats, oppose the 1931 law. Nessel has repeatedly said she would not enforce the law.

The Republican Legislature, on the other hand, supports the abortion ban and wants a say in the Planned Parenthood lawsuit.

“This phony lawsuit is illegitimate and outrageous,” Rep. Pamela Hornberger, R-Chesterfield Township, said in a written statement Tuesday. “The plaintiff Planned Parenthood pushing a pro-choice agenda, the defendant Attorney General who has stated she will not uphold the law, and the judge who formerly represented and donates to Planned Parenthood, all want the same outcome. It’s a blatant conflict of interest and undermines the public’s trust in our judicial system.”

Whatever the case, most voters in Michigan support abortion rights. In an EPIC-MRA poll of 600 likely voters between May 11 and 17, 63% of voters said they disagree with the Supreme Court’s draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. Only 26% of voters said they support the draft decision.

In a statement Tuesday, Nessel said she will continue to protect women's bodily autonomy.

"While many of my colleagues in the legislature want to strip women of their rights, I will continue to protect women’s reproductive health and their fundamental right to make decisions over their own bodies," Nessel said.
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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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