On Friday, a Michigan judge blocked county prosecutors from enforcing the state’s 1931 abortion ban, which has exceptions only if the pregnant person’s life is at risk. This means that Michiganders will retain access to abortion—at least for the next few months, until the November elections.
The ban sat dormant until the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, making it fair game. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she wouldn’t enforce the law, but several Republican prosecutors wanted to do so—and today’s ruling says they can’t.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Judge Jacob Cunningham wrote in his ruling that “the court finds (the abortion law) is chilling and dangerous to our state’s population of childbearing people and the medical professionals who care for them,” adding, “the harm to the body of women and people capable of pregnancy in not issuing the injunction could not be more real, clear, present and dangerous to the court.”
Both Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and AG Nessel are up for reelection in November, and if they lose to Republicans, abortion rights will be at risk in the state. But voters will likely have another way to vote on abortion access this fall: Pro-choice advocates with the Reproductive Freedom for All campaign collected more than 750,000 signatures to let residents vote on enshrining abortion rights into the state constitution. The campaign is awaiting a ruling from the the state’s Board of Canvassers to determine if the measure makes the ballot.
Earlier this month, voters in Kansas overwhelmingly defeated an anti-abortion ballot measure seeking to remove protections from the state constitution. The pro-choice position in that instance was voting “no” to preserve the status quo, but if the Michigan measure makes the ballot, advocates will be asking people to vote “yes” to expand protections.