Preliminary injunction protects abortion access in Michigan while Planned Parenthood’s case against unconstitutional pre-Roe ban proceeds
LANSING, MI — Today, Michigan’s Court of Claims granted a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of Michigan’s 1931 felony abortion law in the event the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, which a leaked draft opinion earlier this month confirmed the high court is poised to do.
The 90-year-old state law, which was never repealed or enjoined, makes it a felony to provide an abortion in virtually all circumstances and threatens physicians with prison time. Planned Parenthood of Michigan and Michigan abortion provider Dr. Sarah Wallett filed suit on April 7, arguing that the ban is unconstitutionally vague and violates the rights to liberty, bodily integrity, equal protection, and privacy under the Michigan Constitution and state civil rights laws.
The court’s order restrains the Michigan Attorney General, in her official capacity as top prosecutor for the state, and all state and local officials under her control and supervision from enforcing the unconstitutional ban against abortion providers. Ultimately, the plaintiffs are asking the state courts to affirm the right to abortion under Michigan’s Constitution. Today, the court granted their motion for a preliminary injunction blocking the law while the full case proceeds.
In the 27-page order, Michigan Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher wrote, “[A]fter 50 years of legal abortion in Michigan, there can be no doubt but that the right of personal autonomy and bodily integrity enjoyed by our citizens includes the right of a woman, in consultation with her physician, to terminate a pregnancy."
Gleicher concluded: “If a woman's right to bodily integrity is to have any real meaning, it must incorporate her right to make decisions about the health events most likely to change the course of her life: pregnancy and childbirth.”
Statement from Dr. Sarah Wallett, plaintiff and chief medical officer, Planned Parenthood of Michigan:
“This is a win for individuals, families, and communities. For those of us who provide abortions, it means we can continue to provide essential health care for our patients. Today’s ruling means all Michiganders will continue to be able to access the health care they deserve and to be able to decide for themselves their own futures.”
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Two weeks ago, our worst fears were confirmed when the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion showed that the court is prepared to end the constitutional right to abortion by explicitly overturning Roe. This crisis moment for abortion access means we have no time to spare. This ruling that blocks enforcement of Michigan’s 90-year-old law means that abortion access in the state will remain protected even when the Supreme Court issues its final opinion, and our fight can continue for permanent relief against this antiquated and dangerous ban. Planned Parenthood has long vowed to do everything in its power to protect access to abortion, and this ruling in Michigan is a victory in our effort to make sure nothing comes between patients and their freedom to control their own bodies, lives, and futures.”
Statement from Bonsitu Kitaba, deputy legal director, ACLU of Michigan:
“This is a historic victory for marginalized communities, especially Black women and people facing economic hardship, who we know will be most impacted by a rollback of our reproductive rights. We will continue to fight to make sure that access to reproductive freedom is protected in our state for generations to come.”
Planned Parenthood of Michigan and the physician plaintiff are represented by Deborah LaBelle, Mark Brewer of Goodman Acker, P.C., and lawyers from Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the ACLU of Michigan, and the Civil Rights Litigation Initiative at the University of Michigan Law School.
Planned Parenthood of Michigan offers affordable reproductive health care for all people through medical services, education and advocacy. A leading sexual and reproductive health care advocate and provider, we provide medical services and sexuality education via telehealth, app-based care and our health centers. Our mission is to promote healthy communities and the right of all individuals to manage their sexual health by providing health care and education and serving as a strong advocate for reproductive justice.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care for all people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect, and without judgment, striving to create equitable access to health care. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable education and information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the independently incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates operating health centers across the U.S.
The American Civil Liberties Union has been at the forefront of every major civil liberties fight for over 100 years. The ACLU of Michigan, founded in 1959, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public interest organization dedicated to the defense and expansion of civil liberties and civil rights in Michigan. Our work is diverse and far-ranging, including criminal legal reform, seeking equality for the LGBT community, immigration reform, protecting our democracy and voting rights, free speech, eradicating racial and social inequities, and protecting and expanding reproductive rights and freedoms for all.