Michigan County prosecutors can enforce 1931 ban, court rules

An Oakland County judge on Monday issued a temporary restraining order against enforcement of Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban, hours after the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the injunction Temporary blocking of law enforcement does not apply to county prosecutors.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s legal team requested the blocking, which was executed by Oakland County Judge Jacob Cunningham.

“(Whitmer) established that public statements (by prosecutors) that they would review a case against an abortion provider if a law enforcement officer brought one to them, coupled with the Ausut 1, 2022 decision of the Michigan Court of Appeals Finding County Prosecutors Not Bound by Judge (Elizabeth) Gleicher’s May 17, 2022 Preliminary Injunction Threatens Immediate and Irreparable Harm to the People of the State of Michigan,” wrote Cunningham in the order, which was obtained by the Detroit Free Press.

In Monday morning’s Court of Appeals ruling, Presiding Judge Stephen L. Borrello and Judges Michael J. Kelly and Michael F. Gadola ruled that county prosecutors were local officials, not state officials. State, excluding them from the injunction.

“We conclude that on the facts before this Court, plaintiffs Jarzynka and Becker are not and could not be bound by the preliminary injunction of the Court of Claims of May 17, 2022 because the preliminary injunction does not apply to county prosecutors,” the court said. of the appeal order read.

Following the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in May, Second District Court of Appeals Judge Elizabeth Gleicher issued a preliminary injunction preventing the state’s 1931 law from taking effect. While Roe v. Wade of 1973 rendered the law unconstitutional, it was never officially repealed or replaced.

The annulment of Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June made the future of abortion access in the state of Michigan uncertain. Following Gleicher’s advice, anti-abortion groups challenged the decision, and several Michigan prosecutors said they would still enforce the ban.

In a statement from Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office, spokeswoman Kaylie Hanson said Whitmer is assessing her next steps in light of the decision and will continue to advocate for abortion access.

“Michigan should know that Governor Whitmer will continue to fight like hell to protect a woman’s ability to make her own medical decisions with her trusted health care provider,” the statement read. “With politicians in Michigan and across the country pushing for dangerous abortion bans, even in cases of rape or incest, Governor Whitmer will do everything in her power to ensure no one is prosecuted. or imprisoned for seeking or providing abortion care in our state. ”

In a TweeterWashtenaw County District Attorney Eli Savit affirmed his commitment not to prosecute anyone for receiving or performing an abortion.

“We are aware of the Court of Appeals decision today allowing county prosecutors to enforce Michigan’s archaic abortion law,” the tweet read. “We anticipate rapid appeals and will support as much as possible. In the meantime, please know that at Washtenaw, our office will NOT prosecute. Period.”

A ballot initiative to amend the Michigan Constitution to protect reproductive rights is expected to be on the ballot in November after receiving nearly 800,000 signatures of support. The signatures are still being reviewed by the Board of State Solicitors. If approved, the amendment will be officially put on the ballot and if it receives a majority vote, it will go into effect 45 days after the election.

Summer News Editor-in-Chief Samantha Rich can be reached at [email protected].

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