Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs bill repealing 1931 abortion ban

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On Wednesday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill repealing the state’s nearly century-old abortion ban, that made it a four-year felony to assist in an abortion. Last month, the state’s House and Senate passed HB 4006, a single-sentence bill, which revokes the 1931 law that criminalized abortion. Roe v. Wade had made the 1931 law null and void, until the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark decision in June.

In signing the legislation, Gov. Whitmer called it “long overdue.” Specifically, the bill repealed Section 750.14, which makes it a felony — punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000 — to administer drugs that induce a miscarriage unless the mother’s life is in danger. It also repealed Section 750.15, which makes it a misdemeanor to advertise, publish or sell “any pills, powder, drugs or combination of drugs” that can cause an abortion.

Whitmer said: “When Roe was overturned, a right afforded to Americans for nearly 50 years was stripped away. It horrified me to think that my daughters would have fewer rights than I did growing up. So, while other states were restricting access, we took steps to protect reproductive freedom.” 

Whitmer has openly expressed her support for abortion access in and out of Michigan and signed an executive order in July refusing to extradite women who come to Michigan from other states seeking abortion and refusing to extradite providers for offering the procedure.  In a statement, the Governor said: “In November, Michiganders sent a clear message: we deserve to make our own decisions about own bodies. Today, we are coming together to repeal our extreme 1931 law banning abortion without exceptions for rape or incest and criminalizing nurses and doctors for doing their jobs .. Standing up for people’s fundamental freedoms is the right thing to do and it’s also just good economics. By getting this done, we will help attract talent and business investment too.”

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