Judge stretches order that keeps abortion legal in Michigan

A Michigan judge has extended an order that bars county prosecutors from enforcing a 1931 ban on abortion
A gavel.
A gavel.(AP GraphicsBank)
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 5:23 PM EDT
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PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan judge on Wednesday extended an order that bars county prosecutors from enforcing a 1931 ban on abortion.

Oakland County Judge Jacob Cunningham agreed after lawyers for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer argued that extinguishing his Monday order would cause chaos around the state.

The restraining order will hold at least until the next hearing on Aug. 17.

Michigan's decades-old abortion ban makes it a crime to perform abortions unless the life of the mother is in danger.

A Court of Claims judge in May suspended the law, saying it's probably unconstitutional. That step had kept abortion legal in Michigan even after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

But the situation in Michigan became clouded this week when the state appeals court said the decision applied only to the attorney general's office, not 13 prosecutors in counties where abortion services are provided.

Lawyers for Whitmer, a Democrat who supports abortion rights, rushed to Cunningham's court for a temporary restraining order, which was granted Monday.

Democratic prosecutors in some of the state’s largest counties have pledged to not enforce the 1931 abortion ban. But Republican prosecutors in Kent and Jackson counties have expressed a different position.