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Legislature votes for fund to defend Michigan abortion ban

men and women hold signs advocating both for an against Roe v. Wade
Jodi Westrick
Michigan Radio
Protestors for and against legal abortions clash in Ann Arbor

In a late-night session of the Legislature, Democrats tried to force votes to permanently repeal Michigan’s statutory abortion ban while Republicans said they’ll defend the ban in court.

The recent reversal of Roe versus Wade hung over the session as it ran into the early morning.

House Democrats’ efforts to get a roll call vote on the repeal went down in defeat. While abortion does remain legal in Michigan under a judge’s order, Democratic Representative Laurie Pohutsky said that could change. “So right now we have a temporary injunction in place that is blocking enforcement of the 1931 law, but it is just that,” she said. “It is temporary. It is not an actual solution.”

Republican Representative Thomas Albert chairs the House Appropriations Committee. He said the House GOP majority had no interest in repealing that law. “The Legislature also stands ready to defend our state laws because while the recent US Supreme Court decision is cause for celebration, it is only the beginning of our fight to defend life in Michigan,” he said.

Republican leaders are opposing a request by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to the Michigan Supreme Court. She wants the court to declare abortion rights are protected by the Michigan Constitution.

Some Republican prosecutors also say they’re not bound by the Court of Claims order. But no abortion providers have been charged with violating the ban.

There is also a petition campaign underway to put a question on the ballot to enshrine reproductive rights in the Michigan Constitution. If adopted, that amendment would supersede the statutory ban.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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