LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The overturning of Roe V. Wade has many lawmakers talking, both pro-choice and pro-life.
In 1931, laws were passed making several acts illegal in Michigan, like adultery, horse racing and abortion. Since the Roe v. Wade decision, the abortion ban has not been enforced, but it is still on the books and could take effect if Roe is overturned.
“We’ve worked to try to overturn it, we’ve been respectful. We’ve played within the rules and let the system work,” said State Rep. TC Clements.
The 1931 law states anyone with intent to cause a miscarriage by using medicine, drugs, or any instrument, unless to preserve the woman’s life, shall be guilty of a felony, and in the case a pregnancy is terminated, the offense shall be deemed manslaughter.
“These laws will kill Black women. It will kill white women. It will kill Asian women. The people passing these laws know it, but they are going to do it anyway because they are not passing it to kill women, they’re passing it because they don’t care if it kills women,” said MSU Law Professor Mae Kuykendall.
“A few women will learn the safe way you can do it yourself but a lot of women will get terrible advice and will get very sick and die,” she adds.
So after 49 years, big changes may be on the way. But Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has already said she won’t prosecute any cases using the 1931 law, and Governor Gretchen Whitmer filed a lawsuit aiming to strike it down.
But experts say pro-choice advocates in our state may be limited by what happens in Washington D.C.
“Maybe the Michigan law could be amended, but if there were a national law passed by Congress banning all abortions, then the Michigan Constitution could be of no help,” said Kuykendall.
The governor’s lawsuit over the 1931 law claims it violates a woman’s constitutional rights and her right to privacy.
The Michigan Supreme Court is expected to look at the lawsuit in the next few weeks.