The Washington Post

Judge strikes down 1931 antiaborti­on law


A judge on Wednesday struck down Michigan’s 1931 antiaborti­on law, months after suspending it, the latest developmen­t over abortion rights in a state where the issue is being argued in courtrooms and, possibly, at the ballot box.

The law, which was long dormant before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, violates the Michigan Constituti­on, Judge Elizabeth Gleicher said.

“A law denying safe, routine medical care not only denies women of their ability to control their bodies and their lives — it denies them of their dignity,” Gleicher of the Court of Claims wrote. “Michigan’s Constituti­on forbids this violation of due process.”

The decision comes as the Michigan Supreme Court is considerin­g whether to place a proposed amendment on the Nov. 8 ballot that would add abortion rights to the state constituti­on. A Friday deadline is looming.

Supporters submitted more than 700,000 signatures, easily clearing the threshold. But a tie vote by the Board of State Canvassers over spacing issues on the petition has kept it off the ballot so far.

The 1931 law makes it a crime to perform an abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger.

The law was suspended in May with an injunction, following a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood of Michigan. Gleicher said her latest decision applies to all state and local prosecutor­s. An appeal by the Republican-controlled legislatur­e is possible.

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