Michigan House Repeals State’s 1931 Abortion Ban

The Michigan House of Representatives on Thursday voted to repeal the state’s 1931 abortion ban, a move that reflects the will of the majority of voters who supported enshrining abortion rights in Michigan’s constitution last fall.[0] The House voted 50-38 to remove the laws from Michigan’s books, with two Republican lawmakers — state Reps. Thomas Kuhn, R-Troy, and Donni Steele, R-Orion Twp.[1] Joining the Democrats, a vote in favor of the repeal was cast.[1] The bills were passed 20-18, along party lines in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and have been sent to Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her signature.[2]

Advocates expressed alarm in 2020 when the Supreme Court of the United States reversed the ruling in Roe v. Wade, which had been in effect since 1931. The U.S. Supreme Court overruled the 1931 abortion ban with the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, establishing a nationwide right to legal abortion. In June of last year, the current arch-conservative court overturned a long-standing precedent, potentially allowing for prosecutions under the law to take place.[3]

On the floor, Republicans proposed a number of amendments that would connect the bill to other laws concerning abortion or the repercussions of Proposal 3 in Michigan, such as the laws that necessitate parental permission or a court order for a minor to get an abortion.[4] The proposals were rejected by the Democrats.[5]

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement that the repeal of the 1931 abortion ban was “a victory for millions of Michigan residents who, like myself, value bodily integrity and personal freedom.”[6]

Planned Parenthood Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sarah Wallett also spoke in support of the repeal, saying “It’s terrifying to know that a nearly century-old ban remains on Michigan’s law books threatening to label me a felon. I should not have to fear being arrested, separated from my family, stripped of my medical license and barred from practicing medicine simply for providing the care my patients depend on.”[7]

State Senator Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) is sponsoring Senate Bill 2, which seeks to revoke a clause in the 1931 law concerning the advertisement of contraceptive methods.[8]

State Representative

0. “Michigan House sends abortion ban repeal legislation to Senate” WVPE Public Media, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.wvpe.org/wvpe-news/2023-03-03/michigan-house-sends-abortion-ban-repeal-legislation-to-senate

1. “House repeals still-on-books abortion ban after Prop 3 passage” Detroit Free Press, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2023/03/02/house-repeals-abortion-ban-after-prop-3-passage/69962571007/

2. “Michigan Senate votes to repeal 1931 abortion ban | State | abc12.com” WJRT, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.abc12.com/news/state/michigan-senate-votes-to-repeal-1931-abortion-ban/article_981e78ac-8345-5723-8e2d-a2af2eed387e.html

3. “Michigan Senate votes to repeal 1931 abortion ban | National News | kpvi.com” KPVI News 6, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.kpvi.com/news/national_news/michigan-senate-votes-to-repeal-1931-abortion-ban/article_1b0dd447-d9f8-5540-8900-eea7f5d1a01a.html

4. “Senate Democrats OK abortion ban repeal over GOP opposition” Crain's Detroit Business, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.crainsdetroit.com/politics-policy/senate-democrats-ok-abortion-ban-repeal-over-gop-opposition

5. “Michigan House votes to repeal 1931 abortion ban” Bridge Michigan, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-health-watch/michigan-house-votes-repeal-1931-abortion-ban

6. “Michigan Dems Vote to Repeal 1931 Abortion Ban” 9&10 News, 8 Mar. 2023, https://www.9and10news.com/2023/03/08/michigan-dems-vote-to-repeal-1931-abortion-ban

7. “Michigan Senate advances repeal of 1931 abortion ban — though the ban is already unenforceable” Michigan Radio, 1 Mar. 2023, https://www.michiganradio.org/health/2023-03-01/michigan-senate-advances-repeal-of-1931-abortion-ban-though-the-ban-is-already-unenforceable

8. “Bills wiping traces of 1931 abortion ban move through committees ⋆ Michigan Advance” Michigan Advance, 1 Mar. 2023, https://michiganadvance.com/2023/03/01/bills-wiping-traces-of-1931-abortion-ban-move-through-committees/