Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday urged the Republican-controlled Legislature to repeal a 90-year-old law that criminalized abortion in Michigan, warning that the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn women's constitutional right to abortion.
GOP legislative leaders oppose abortion and will not back the governor's request. A Democratic-sponsored bill that would rescind the 1931 law is stalled in a Senate committee.
“We will not be supporting any such repeal," Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said in a statement. "The primary charge of any government or government official is to protect the life of the innocent. Michigan Senate Republicans will not waiver from this fundamental duty to protect the sanctity of life.”
Whitmer made her appeal days after the high court decided not to block a law banning most abortions in Texas, with justices saying it likely was not the last word and other challenges can be brought. She said the court's 5-4 order “sets the United States on a dangerous towards overturning Roe v. Wade," the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. She called Michigan's law “arcane.”
“Thankfully, that dangerous, outdated law is superseded by Roe v. Wade, but, if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe, that Michigan law and others like it may go back into effect in dozens of states, disproportionately impacting Black and brown communities,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I have always stood with those fighting for their right to choose, and I will not stop now.”
Michigan's law, which originally dates to the 1800s, makes it a felony to use an instrument or administer any substance with the intent “to procure the miscarriage” of a woman unless necessary to preserve her life.
Michigan is among eight states with unenforced, pre-Roe abortion bans, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that backs abortion rights.
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