LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Now that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has announced his retirement, there could be implications surrounding the debate over abortion.
Right now every state in the nation is required to follow a Supreme Court decision known as “Roe vs. Wade.”
It means while states may have rules restricting abortion, they’re not allowed to enforce an outright ban.
But is there a law in Michigan that would take effect if “Roe vs. Wade” is overturned in the future?
As a matter of fact, yes there is.
Michigan has had abortion laws on the books since 1846, with the most recent update to that law in 1931.
However it was challenged in the Michigan Supreme Court 40 years later in 1971.
It was found unconstitutional just a few months after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision on “Roe vs. Wade.”
That means the Michigan ban cannot be enforced, but it’s still on the books if the “Roe vs. Wade” decision is ever overturned.
After U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on Wednesday, groups on both sides of the issue of abortion spoke out.
“It’s not an overstatement to say that women’s reproductive rights and access to abortion are actually in peril right now,” said Ruth Lednicer; Director of Media and Communications for Planned Parenthood of Michigan.
“When Trump was running for office he had put out a list of his nominations that he would choose from, his short list, and they all seemed pretty good so we were encouraged,” Genevieve Marnon stated; Legislative Director for Right to Life of Michigan.
Justice Kennedy is a supporter of “Roe vs. Wade” and now that he’s hanging up his robe, there’s a possibility that Supreme Court decision could be overturned.
Something “Right to Life” Legislative Director Genevieve Marnon hopes will happen, but says it’s too premature to make that prediction.
“First and foremost, number one…a justice has not even been nominated, number two…they haven’t been appointed you know they haven’t been seated…number three…you never really know how a justice is going to rule until they’re put on the bench,” said Marnon.
While “Planned Parenthood” spokesperson Ruth Lednicer agrees that it’s too early to predict the outcome of “Roe vs. Wade,” she hopes it stays in place.
“We are hoping and depending on our folks who showed up the three times they tried to cut funding to us through the ACA that in fact they won’t allow that because when they tried to de-fund us, they weren’t de-funding us…they were de-funding the people who depend on our care and it’s the same thing here,” Lednicer stated.
As far as if the law in Michigan is taken into consideration down the road, opinions are split.
“We do support the ban on abortion because we don’t believe that our constitution allows for the taking of innocent life,” Marnon stated.
”This also stresses the need to elect local leaders who believe in access to reproductive healthcare and women’s rights too,” said Lednicer.
Again, while both “Planned Parenthood” and “Right to Life” stand on separate sides of the issue, both organizations say time will tell and we need to wait and see what happens once a new Supreme Court justice takes the bench.