Whitmer signs legislation to repeal ‘extreme’ 1931 abortion ban ⋆

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday signed into law a set of bills to formally repeal Michigan’s 92-year-old ban on abortion, months after voters approved a measure enshrining reproductive rights in the state Constitution. 

“This is a long overdue step that proves that when we keep fighting to protect everyone’s ability to make their own decisions about their bodies we can win,” said Whitmer, a Democrat who described the 1931 legislation as “extreme.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday signed into law a set of bills to repeal Michigan’s 92-year-old ban on abortion. | Whitmer office photo

During the signing ceremony held in Birmingham, Whitmer was joined by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan Executive Director Nicole Wells Stallworth, state Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) and state Rep. Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia). Geiss and Pohutsky were lead sponsors of the legislation in their respective chambers.

By a 13-point margin, Michigan voters in November passed a constitutional amendment known as Proposal 3 affirming the right to abortion, birth control and maternity care. The measure did not, however, erase Michigan’s 1931 “trigger law” criminalizing abortion. 

The abortion ban was unenforceable for almost 50 years because of Roe v. Wade, which the U.S. Supreme Court overturned in June with the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. The Michigan law then was on pause for months due to lawsuits.

Despite Proposal 3 passing, advocates stressed the need to remove remnants of the 1931 law completely. 

“Last year Michiganders made it clear that they want abortion to remain safe and legal, and while there is still much work to be done to ensure abortion is accessible to everyone in our state, repealing the 1931 criminal abortion ban once and for all is the first step in that process, and one I am grateful is complete as of today,” said Pohutsky.

Geiss, who first introduced legislation in 2018 to repeal the state law, agreed. 

“Today, we strike down these laws that served to stymie the freedom of people to have the bodily autonomy to manage their own sexual and reproductive health once and for all,” said Geiss.  

Whitmer’s bill signing comes as other states like Idaho and Wyoming have passed legislation further restricting abortion and a former President Trump-appointed judge in Texas is considering a case that seeks to ban the abortion pill from being on the market.

NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju referred to the signing as “a monumental victory for reproductive freedom.”

“Today is a testament to the power of our voices and the strength of our votes, proving progress is possible when we elect those who champion our freedoms,” Timmaraju said. “Today is a crucial step in the fight for freedom and abortion access for Michiganders today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.”



authored by Ken Coleman
First published at https%3A%2F%2Fmichiganadvance.com%2F2023%2F04%2F05%2Fwhitmer-signs-legislation-to-repeal-extreme-1931-abortion-ban%2F

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