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Michiganders fight for abortion rights as debate over Roe v. Wade continues

Posted at 6:01 AM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 11:01:49-04

(WXYZ) — The leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court has sparked strong reactions from across the country and right here in metro Detroit.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and local prosecutors have even weighed in on the leaked opinion draft.

"This is going to have a dramatic impact on women in my state," Governor Whitmer said.

That's because Michigan has a 1931 law on the books that makes abortion illegal. She filed a lawsuit last month to overturn it.

"We surveyed the tools I have as governor and filed this lawsuit over a month ago because we saw the direction that it looked like that the United States Supreme Court was taking and we thought it was important to take this case straight to our state supreme court and ask them to rule that the Michigan Constitution confers a women's right to abortions and right to make her own health care decisions," Whitmer told CNN Tuesday night.

If that fight fails, there is also a petition circulating called the Help Reproductive Freedom for All that needs over 425,000 signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald have already said they will not prosecute doctors and women under the 1931 law.

Governor Whitmer believes that choice should be up to individuals and not the government.

"You don't start by taking agency away from making their own health care decisions. This is something that shouldn't be up to politicians, it shouldn't be up to judges frankly. It should be squarely a women's determination with some advice from a trusted health care professional and that's precisely what we are fighting for," she said.

And while the pro-choice movement is being loud and vocal, so are pro-lifers.

When it comes to this leaked draft opinion, they're optimistic but are approaching it with caution.

"The pro-life movement in Michigan is really encouraged and excited and kind of can't believe it's actually happening," pro-lifer Anna Visser said.

But if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, they will fight to uphold that 1931 Michigan law that makes abortion illegal.

"We're going to keep on defending it and keep on protecting it and hopefully in the future, we can get a constitutional amendment that is pro-life and protects the unborn," Visser said.

On Tuesday, pro-choice marchers took to the streets expressing outrage over the leaked opinion draft from the U.S. Supreme Court indicating that Roe vs. Wade would be overturned.

"It broke my heart because not only does it affect me as a person, but it affects every woman in America," Alex Balaska said.

The National Women's March says larger protests and marches are planned for the coming days.