Right to Life Michigan, Planned Parenthood react to Court of Appeals ruling

On Monday, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled county prosecutors can now enforce Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban despite an injunction that blocks the law from be
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 6:21 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - On Monday, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled county prosecutors can now enforce Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban despite an injunction that blocks the law from being enforced.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer requested a temporary restraining order to protect access to abortion on Monday.

“Today’s dangerous decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals clears a path for county prosecutors to use Michigan’s extreme 1931 abortion ban to prosecute doctors and nurses and jail them for doing their jobs,” Whitmer said. “This is why I have taken immediate action and filed a request for temporary restraining order against enforcement. As today’s unexpected action proves, the overturn of Roe V. Wade in June has left reproductive freedom hanging by a thread in Michigan. I have a number of unprecedented steps to protect the 2.2M women in Michigan who would lose the right to control their own bodies. I will keep fighting like hell to protect women and healthcare providers.”

Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Cunningham granted a temporary restraining order requested by Whitmer to stop the enforcement of the state’s 1931 abortion ban. The injunction stops county prosecutors from criminally prosecuting abortions in Michigan while the order is pending, according to the Attorney General’s office.

Genevieve Marnon, the legislative director for Right to Life Michigan, was thrilled with the ruling.

“Good news. It’s just confirming that, which we already knew, that the order does not bind the county prosecutors. So, county prosecutors are free to prosecute the crime of abortion in the state of Michigan now,” Marnon said.

Marnon said she wants prosecutors to start issuing criminal charges for abortions.

“Right now, the law is that abortions are a felony in the state of Michigan. I would hope that the prosecuting attorneys would do their job,” Marnon said.

Paula Thornton Greear, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Michigan, disagrees.

“Regarding the Court of Appeals order that was issued this morning, I want to make one thing abundantly clear, abortion is still safe and legal today,” Thornton Greear said.

Thornton Greear believes the state Court of Appeals’ decision is wrong.

“The Michigan Court of Appeals order does not take effect for at least 21 days. As such, we’re continuing to evaluate our legal options,” Thornton Greear said.

Thornton Greear said any prosecutor filing criminal charges before those 21 days are up would be acting outside the law and should be held in contempt. In the meantime, she has a message for those who are against abortion and those who are considering getting one.

“Planned Parenthood of Michigan’s doors are open. And they’re going to stay open,” Thornton Greear said.

Marnon does not support that message.

“If I were a Planned Parenthood in Jackson County, Kent County, or Macomb County, or any abortion provider, I would seriously consider shutting my doors today,” Marnon said.

Despite the court’s ruling, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said he won’t charge anyone who seeks an abortion. Other prosecutors TV5 spoke to said they are taking a wait and see approach.