County prosecutors in Michigan can enforce the state’s decades-old ban on abortions, despite a lower court’s earlier injunction against the law, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
The ruling, which means county prosecutors can criminally charge abortion providers, could have a major impact on doctors and health workers who terminate pregnancies in the state.
Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban was temporarily on hold after Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher issued an injunction blocking the enforcement of the law a month before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned abortion rights on June 24.
That case involved a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood, which argued the state constitution protected abortion rights.
But since county prosecutors were not party to that lawsuit, the three-judge panel said they are not bound by the injunction.
Planned Parenthood of Michigan (PPMI) said Monday that the panel’s decision won't stop the nonprofit from providing abortions.
“Planned Parenthood of Michigan will continue to provide abortion services in accordance with the law,” PPMI said in a statement. “PPMI patients can keep their appointments and our doors remain open.”
Abortion-rights advocates are expected to appeal the ruling to the Michigan Supreme Court, which ultimately will decide on the legality of abortions.
Regardless of that outcome, a ballot initiative could affirm abortion rights in the state. Last month, abortion-right advocates filed more than 750,000 signatures to bring the issue to the ballot in November.
The Board of State Canvassers still needs to certify the signatures.
Meanwhile, a handful of county prosecutors have said they would not enforce the ban.
The thread has torn. The Michigan Court of Appeals has just ruled that MI’s 83 county prosecutors can now begin enforcing the abortion ban. But note that the Dem prosecuting attorneys have committed to refuse to enforce the ban, and the injunction still applies to my department. https://t.co/0bUZuUhQDf— Dana Nessel (@dananessel) August 1, 2022
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