OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) – An Oakland County judge has blocked county prosecutors from enforcing Michigan’s abortion ban after the governor’s office challenged the ban in court.
When the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson this spring overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, it left the question of whether abortion should be legal up to the states. While Michigan’s 1931 abortion law is still on the books, a ballot initiative coming up in November will decide whether abortion should remain legal in our state.
Friday’s ruling means abortion will remain legal until voters can have their say.
“Dobs defers the matter of abortion rights to the states, and this court finds that this is overwhelmingly in the public’s interest, to let the people of this great state of Michigan decide this matter at the ballot box, assuming the constitutional amendment initiative is on the ballot this Nov. 8,” said Oakland County Sixth Circuit Court Judge Jacob Cunningham.
Judge Cunningham’s ruling today blocked county prosecutors from enforcing the state’s 1931 abortion ban.
As state officials and abortion rights activists find some relief in the decision, critics say it creates a precedent of using the courts to overrule a state law. Attorney Jacob Bursh followed the case for the legal group Alliance Defending Freedom.
“It’s dangerous to democracy when judges do that. Second, he talks about a constitutional right to be left alone, but what this case is about is the right to welcome a physician in and take the life of an unborn child. These are two different things,” he said.
Attorney David Kallman represented Jackson County Prosecutor Jerry Jarzinka, who’s named in the lawsuit. While he agreed the decision should be up to voters, he said the motion is an overreach because it includes parties that were not included in the lawsuit, like doctors.
“The correct way to do this is through the ballot box, not through this abusive process which is what’s happening here,” Kallman said.
Cunningham said the testimony from state witnesses showed the difficult position physicians were in between providing care to patients and possibly breaking the law. Dr. Rob Davidson with the Committee to Protect Health Care said other physicians share the same worries. He says the ruling gives doctors some hope.
“An overwhelming number of physicians and health care providers welcome this protection and really understand that health care decisions should be made between patients and their doctors,” he said.
Both Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel have praised the decision and say they will continue to fight for abortion access. Kallman said his team plans to appeal the decision.