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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Repeals 92-Year-Old Abortion Ban

Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer repealed the state’s 1931 abortion ban Wednesday after a lengthy court battle, according to her announcement.

The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision blocked the enforcement of abortion bans until about 24 weeks into a pregnancy, but when the Supreme Court overturned the decision in June 2022, Michigan still hadn’t repealed its pre-Roe ban. The courts battled over the enforceability of the law for months, but the state passed a ballot measure enshrining legal abortion up to 24 weeks, after the point at which a child can survive outside the womb, in November, nullifying the 1931 law.

“Today, we’re going to take action to make sure that our statutes and our laws reflect our values and our constitution,” Whitmer said at the Wednesday bill signing, according to the AP.

The 1931 ban made it a felony punishable by four years in jail to assist someone in obtaining an abortion, according to the AP. Whitmer sued in April 2022 to have the ban overturned, and a separate Planned Parenthood lawsuit resulted in a temporary injunction barring state authorities from enforcing it, but the Michigan Court of Appeals determined in August that local prosecutors could still enforce it.

Whitmer pledged to repeal the abortion ban in 2018 during her gubernatorial campaign and tweeted about the issue frequently beginning in 2021 when the Supreme Court took up the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. She insisted abortion was still legal in Michigan four separate times after the appeals court granted a temporary injunction against the ban.

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