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Michigan Court Says 1931 Abortion Ban Is Unconstitutional

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A Michigan judge issued a sternly worded opinion Wednesday ruling that a 91-year-old anti-abortion law still on the books violates the state structure.

“A law denying secure, routine medical care not only denies women of their ability to manage their bodies and their lives — it denies them of their dignity,” Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher wrote. “Michigan’s Structure forbids this violation of due process.”

The 1931 law went dormant in 1973 when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in Roe v. Wade, but Michigan Republicans have sought its revival because the Supreme Court overturned Roe in June.

The the nearly century-old measure made it a criminal offense to help an individual in terminating their pregnancy, except where it was needed to avoid wasting the lifetime of the mother.

Gleicher had issued a preliminary injunction in May suspending the law in response to a suit filed by Planned Parenthood. On Wednesday, she made it everlasting, forbidding the state from enforcing the law.

Her ruling comes because the Michigan Supreme Court is anticipated to make a decision whether the general public will give you the chance to vote to enshrine abortion access within the state structure this fall. If approved, the proposal would trump the 1931 law and cement the correct to abortion, which is currently legal in Michigan.

Activists gathered around 750,000 signatures in support of the proposal this summer, but their efforts were stymied last week when a state elections panel blocked it from appearing on November ballots resulting from a technical issue. The state Supreme Court faces a Friday deadline to rule on the difficulty.

Gleicher specifically said that her decision applies to the local Republican prosecutors who’ve threatened to make use of their power to charge individuals with violating the law. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, said previously that she’s going to not implement the ban even whether it is ultimately upheld.

The judge also directly addressed the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case rolled back abortion rights nationwide. She torched the high court’s reasoning as she explained how the Michigan Structure differs from the U.S. Structure.

“Reasonably than requiring a right to be ‘deeply rooted on this Nation’s history or tradition,’ and ‘implicit within the concept of ordered liberty,’ when interpreting Michigan’s Structure ‘probably the most pressing rule’ is ’that the provisions for the protection of life, liberty and property are to be largely and liberally construed in favor of the citizen,” the judge wrote, referencing oft-quoted lines from Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion.

“What was ‘deeply rooted’ in history and tradition in 1868, a point of interest in Dobbs, bears little resemblance to the understanding of non-public freedom, particularly for girls and other people of color, motivating those that drafted and ratified our 1963 Structure,” she said.

Gleicher highlighted the argument, continuously made by advocates for abortion rights, that abortion bans prevent women from participating fully in civic life.

“Despite that men play [a] crucial role within the procreative process, the law deprives only women of their ability to thrive as contributing participants in [the] world outside the house and as parents of wanted children,” she said.

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