May 19, 2022

Michigan Judge Suspends 1931 Law Banning Abortion

Michigan Judge Elizabeth Gleicher issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday blocking a 1931 law that would ban abortion in the state if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Planned Parenthood sued the state of Michigan to block the law, and state officials are taking no action to defend it. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement that the ruling against her office is a "victory for the millions of Michigan women fighting for their rights." It is her office's duty to defend and uphold the laws of Michigan, but she takes the same side as Planned Parenthood on this issue. She will not appeal Judge Gleicher's injunction.

”This is the kind of mess that you end up in the court system when the state’s chief executive and its attorney general refuse to uphold and defend the law that has been in place since 1931,” said John Bursch, an Alliance Defending Freedom lawyer representing Right to Life of Michigan and Michigan Catholic Conference.

“They may not like it, but no one has the ability to unilaterally ignore, change, encourage the invalidation of Michigan law. They should be working through the democratic process just like anyone else.”

Judge Gleicher served as counsel to Planned Parenthood in the past, and she has a history of donating and advocating for the plaintiff. Despite her connections to Planned Parenthood, the judge did not recuse herself.

In a 1997 case, Gleicher argued on behalf of Planned Parenthood that the Michigan constitution's right of privacy implied a right to abortion. The court decided against Planned Parenthood in that case. Now, Planned Parenthood is using a different angle to ask the court to find that right. It is using the Michigan Constitution's right to bodily integrity and due process.

"Pregnancy implicates bodily integrity because even for the healthiest women it carries consequential medical risks...thus, the link between the right to bodily integrity and the decision whether to bear a child is an obvious one," Judge Gleicher wrote. 

"Somehow this right was hiding underneath the surface for nearly a half a century until Judge Gleicher, Planned Parenthood’s former attorney, mysteriously found one," Bursch said. “The ruling today is absolutely egregious. Because the defendant Attorney General Dana Nessel was not defending the law, the court had no jurisdiction.”

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