Judge suspends 1931 law banning abortion in Michigan

A judge on Tuesday suspended a now-defunct Michigan abortion ban, saying it likely violates the state Constitution.

The law that makes it a crime to assist in an abortion has existed since 1931, but has had no practical effect since the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion at the national level in 1973 with Roe v. Wade.

The Supreme Court, however, could reverse that decision by the summer, leaving it up to each state to decide on the issue.

Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher granted a preliminary injunction requested by the family planning organization Planned Parenthood of Michigan.

“After 50 years of legal abortion in Michigan, there can be no question that the right to personal autonomy and bodily integrity enjoyed by our citizens includes the right of a woman, in consultation with her physician, to terminate a pregnancy,” the judge said.

Gleicher noted that other Michigan laws regulating abortion will remain in place.

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer called the decision a victory.

“This sends the message that Michigan’s 1931 law banning abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, should not go into effect even if Roe v. Wade,” Whitmer said.

This “will help ensure that Michigan remains a place where women have freedom and control over their own bodies,” the governor added.

Whitmer, who supports abortion rights, has asked the Michigan Supreme Court to bypass lower courts and declare the 91-year-old law unconstitutional.

In May, the Politico news site published a US Supreme Court blueprint on abortion. The leaked document indicates that the court could overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.

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