Hearing to determine if agencies can enforce Michigan's 1931 ban on abortion continues

Posted at 5:54 AM, Aug 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-18 17:28:46-04

(WXYZ) — The court battle over reproductive rights in Michigan continued Thursday in Oakland County.

The state is currently pushing for the continued pause on the enforcement of Michigan's 1931 abortion ban.

Attorneys for two county prosecutors argue that they should decide whether or not to bring charges pertaining to that law.

Judge Jacob Cunningham is expected to decide whether or not to issue a more long-term suspension of that 1931 ban on Friday morning.

“By subjecting women to carry pregnancies in a forced manner, we are subjecting them to potentially negative health outcomes that they are not choosing for themselves.,” Michigan's Chief Medical Executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian said in court.

The state also called on ob-gyn at Michigan Medicine Dr. Lisa Harris to testify. She points to the ambiguity of the current law and the challenges doctors could face in trying to follow it.

“How high does the risk of dying need to be to sort of count or qualify as a life-preserving abortion? The second is how imminent does the… how sick does a patient need to be to quality under that exception,” she said in court.

Most county prosecutors in Michigan have said they don’t plan on enforcing the decades-old law, but prosecutors in Kent and Jackson counties argue they can’t rule it out.

Their attorney was in court Wednesday arguing that this is not about someone’s belief in the right to abortion access, but rather the current law.

"The governor is required to enforce the law as it is, not in the way that she wants it to be," attorney David Kallman said.

This is all playing out as the state waits for the Michigan Supreme Court to determine if that 1931 ban is legal or not.