County prosecutors can enforce abortion ban

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Abortion could become illegal in parts of Michigan after a state Court of Appeals panel ruled Monday that a state judge’s injunction blocking the Application of a pre-Roe ban does not apply to county prosecutors.

The 91-year-old abortion ban, which had been blocked in may to take effect immediately, makes it a crime for doctors to perform abortions unless the life of the mother is in danger.

The new ruling will have the biggest impact on the 13 state attorneys who have abortion clinics in their county. Seven of those prosecutors – all Democrats – have previously said they will not enforce the 1931 law.

Republican prosecutors in Kent and Jackson counties, however, plan to enforce the 1931 abortion ban, which means abortion providers could be charged with a felony.

“If a report is submitted to this office, we will review it as we do any other report of possible criminal behavior,” Kent County District Attorney Christopher Becker said in a statement Monday. “We will make the decision to charge or not to charge based on the facts presented in the report and applicable Michigan law.”

Becker, who previously said in June that he would ignore the injunction and enforce the 1931 law, said no report had been presented to his office at this stage. Kent County includes Grand Rapids, the second largest city in the state.

Jackson County District Attorney Jerard Jarzynka did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The three-judge panel’s decision came after Becker, Jarzynka and several anti-abortion groups asked the Court of Appeals to overturn a lower court injunction on the 1931 ban. said Becker and Jarzynka lacked standing because the injunction “does not apply to county prosecutors.”

Complete or near-complete abortion bans are already in effect in neighboring states of Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, with bans expected in about half of the states.

Michigan Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel, who has previously said she will not defend the 1931 law, said in a statement Monday that the “legal battle continues on multiple fronts” and the decision is not the “final word on this issue in Michigan”. .”

Planned Parenthood of Michigan said in a statement following the decision that it would continue to offer abortions and was evaluating legal options.

Earlier this month, abortion rights activists submitted signatures to bring a constitutional amendment to Michigan voters in November that would affirm the right to make pregnancy-related decisions without interference, including relates to abortion and reproductive services such as birth control. If the amendment passes, it will replace the 1931 law.


Joey Cappelletti is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on underreported issues.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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