Back in April, before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade with its Dobbs ruling and before Politico reported on the leaked draft majority opinion overturning Roe, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer began preparing Michigan for the inevitable.
Whitmer was one of a handful of governors who saw the writing on the wall after conservative justices all but confirmed they were ready to overturn the federal right to an abortion during oral arguments in Dobbs back in December 2021. As red state governors picked up on conservative justices’ signals and got to work pushing even-more-extreme but still unenforcible abortion bans after oral arguments, Whitmer, of course, did the opposite.
Knowing that Michigan would be one of at least 17 states where abortion would become almost instantly illegal if Roe were to fall due to a century-old law banning abortion still on the books in Michigan, Whitmer preemptively sued in April 2022 to block local prosecutors from charging anyone found to be in violation of Michigan’s 1931 law in an at-the-time still-hypothetical post-Roe world. Whitmer also formally asked the state Supreme Court to consider the right to an abortion under the state constitution and remove the 1931 law from the books.
Fast-forward to September 2022, just a few months into our current post-Roe America. A Michigan state court found the century-old law unconstitutional and blocked it from being enforced. After Democrats secured a trifecta for the first time in four decades in November — and Michigan voters approved a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to protect reproductive rights — Democratic Party leaders vowed to make the abortion ban go away for good.
And that leads us to today: by a 20-18 party line vote, the Michigan Senate approved a state House-passed bill to repeal the 1930s-era law that banned abortion in all cases except when the woman’s life was in danger. The measure also repealed the law’s sentencing guidelines.
Michigan Democrats celebrated the long-fought victory after sending the bill to Whitmer’s desk for her signature.
The Best Of TPM Today
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Yesterday’s Most Read Story
In The Smoldering Wreck Of Fox News, They All Deserve Each Other — David Kurtz
What We Are Reading
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The scale of local news destruction in Gannett’s markets is astonishing — Nieman Lab