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GOP leaders ask appeals court to let abortion ban take effect

A split photo of two protests--one against abortion rights and one for. On the left, someone in a pink coat and purple hat holds a red sign that says "Let Their Hearts Beat" in black and white lettering and on the right, an arm holds up a white sign that says "Protect safe, legal abortion" in handwritten pink block letters
Maria Oswalt/Gayatri Malhotra
With the U.S. Supreme Court expected to reverse, or at least roll back, the rights protected by Roe v. Wade, Michigan activists on both sides of the debate are gearing up for a statewide fight this election year.

The Michigan Legislature’s Republican leaders have asked the Michigan Court of Appeals to allow the state’s dormant ban on most abortions to go into effect.

Abortion remains legal in Michigan because a Court of Claims judge’s injunction blocks enforcement of a 1931 state law. Otherwise, abortion would be outlawed except to save the life of a pregnant woman now that the U.S. Supreme Court has reversed Roe v. Wade.

Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher issued the temporary injunction in response to a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of Michigan. Among other things, Gleicher said Planned Parenthood has a high likelihood of winning.

The House and Senate GOP leadership asked to join the case after Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel refused to defend the law. She did not oppose letting the Legislature join the case.

In the filing with the Court of Appeals, the House and Senate Republican leaders called stalling reinstatement of the law “an egregious abuse of judicial power.”

The next briefs in the Planned Parenthood case are due in about three weeks. Absent some other action, the injunction will remain in effect in the meantime.

In another case, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has asked the Michigan Supreme Court to declare that abortion rights are guaranteed by the state constitution’s due process and equal protection clauses. The court has not said whether it will hear the case.

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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