Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Michigan faces an imminent threat to reproductive freedom and access to abortion: an archaic state law from 1931 that criminalizes all abortions except those necessary to save the life of the mother, poised to automatically spring into effect when Roe was overturned. Anticipating in advance that Roe would fall and the 1931 law could end abortion access throughout the state, in March 2022 the ACLU of Michigan worked in coalition to file a lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Michigan challenging the 1931 law as a violation of the Michigan Constitution and asking for an immediate statewide injunction against its enforcement. In April 2022 Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher agreed with us and issued a preliminary injunction so that abortion access could continue in Michigan. In September 2022 Judge Gleicher issued a final judgment and permanent injunction, ruling that the Michigan Constitution’s right to bodily integrity protects access to abortion, and that the 1931 law violates that right as well as the Michigan Constitution’s right to equal protection under the law. The Michigan legislature intervened in the lawsuit and has filed an appeal. Meanwhile, anti-abortion prosecutors and organizations have filed a separate lawsuit challenging Judge Gleicher’s authority to issue her rulings. We also filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a similar case filed by Governor Whitmer encouraging the Michigan Supreme Court to rule on the state constitutional questions as soon as possible. (Planned Parenthood of Michigan v. Attorney General; In re Jarzynka; Whitmer v. Linderman; ACLU Attorneys Bonsitu Kitaba-Gaviglio and Dan Korobkin and legal interns Cali Winslow and Maya Lorey; co-counsel Deborah LaBelle and Mark Brewer; Hannah Swanson, Susan Lambiase and Peter Im of Planned Parenthood Federation of America; and Michael J. Steinberg of U-M Law School, with student attorneys Hannah Shilling, Ruby Emberling, Audrey Hertzberg, Hannah Juge and Emma Mertens.)
The Michigan Legislature is in session.