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Michigan faces uncertainty as abortion battle wages on

Conflicting abortion signs

Officials say abortion is currently legal in Michigan, as the Court of Claims decides the constitutionality of a 1931 abortion ban.

Here in Michigan, officials assure abortion is currently legal. That’s due to an injunction issued by the Court of Claims last May in Planned Parenthood of Michigan v Attorney General of the State of Michigan.

A battle centers around the constitutionality of a 1931 state law barring abortion unless it is performed to save a person’s life.

While some county prosecutors have said they’ll ignore this law. Others, like Kent County Prosecutor, Christopher Becker, have vowed to uphold any laws on the books.

“I have always held it would be improper for me to pick and choose the laws I wish to enforce that have been validly passed and signed. I will not start now,” Becker shared in a statement.

Responses have triggered another wave of urgency and uncertainty for local domestic violence groups like the YWCA of West Central Michigan – which operates in Becker’s jurisdiction.

Becker said Michigan’s law would prosecute abortion providers, not those seeking or getting abortions, but YWCA’s CEO Charisse Mitchell says that offers little ease.

“I don’t know that offers any degree of comfort for anyone. The fact that I’m not going to jail for seeking an abortion doesn’t help me if I can’t get one at all or if the person that I trust, the health professional that I’ve been seeing and that has been here to support me, has to decide whether my care or their livelihood should be protected.”

The Republican legislature has asked the court to reverse the injunction, and Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer is calling on the supreme court to determine whether Michigan’s constitution protects the right to abortion.

As the conversation wages on, Mitchell says her team will continue to work towards health resources for its community.

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