Whitmer makes new appeal to Michigan Supreme Court to take up abortion ban challenge

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Lansing — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday filed a motion in the Michigan Supreme Court urging the seven justices to immediately consider her suit seeking to overturn the state's 1931 abortion ban by finding a right to abortion in the state constitution.

The motion, filed the day the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, is the second time the Democratic governor is asking the high court to dispense with delays related to rulings and appeals in the lower courts and consider her request immediately. 

"We need to clarify that under Michigan law, access to abortion is not only legal, but constitutionally protected," Whitmer said in a Friday statement. "The urgency of the moment is clear — the Michigan court must act now."

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses members of Service Employees International Union Local 1 this morning in anticipation of their contract negotiations this summer.

The filing by Whitmer would have all briefing in her case completed in July.

Michigan's 1931 abortion ban currently is blocked from enforcement by a preliminary injunction issued in a separate case filed by Planned Parenthood of Michigan, also seeking to overturn the 1931 law. 

Whitmer filed suit in April in Oakland County Circuit Court against 13 county prosecutors tasked with enforcing the law in their counties. Like Planned Parenthood, Whitmer asked the judge to find a constitutional right to abortion that trumps the state abortion ban. 

Whitmer also sent an executive message to the state Supreme Court, asking the high court to take the case immediately instead of allowing the issue to work its way through the lower courts. 

The high court asked for supplemental briefings but has not officially said whether it would take up the case. 

Whitmer in her Friday filing urged the Supreme Court to end the uncertainty in Michigan around the law. 

"So long as this uncertainty persists, it will work to deny Michiganders their rights under the Michigan Constitution and have profound and irreversible consequences on  Michiganders’ lives," Whitmer wrote in the filing. "This court is the only forum with the power to fully resolve that uncertainty and conclusively settle whether Michigan’s criminal abortion ban, MCL 750.14, violates the Michigan Constitution."