A “judicial opinion that goes too far to settle this issue usurps the power of the Legislative Assembly, exacerbates polarization and stifles the potential for a democratic solution and public buy-in,” argued the lawmakers’ legal brief. .
The U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision overturning Roe v. Wade left the question of the right to abortion to the appreciation of the States. In Michigan, Roe’s overthrow resurrected a 1931 state law that generally prohibited abortion. But reenforcement of that ban was blocked by Gleicher’s injunction in May, when a leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s opinion went public and reported Roe missing.
The Michigan Legislature should be given the opportunity to consider reviewing Michigan’s abortion laws without judicial interference, lawyers for House and Senate Republicans wrote while challenging the injunction in the Michigan Court of Appeals . The case and the request for the injunction came from abortion provider Planned Parenthood of Michigan.
Gleicher, a Planned Parenthood donor who had also represented the organization in the past, declined to back down from hearing the case, saying she could remain impartial. In her order for an injunction, the judge concluded that Planned Parenthood and future abortion patients would be “placed in grave danger of irreparable harm if prevented from accessing abortion services” under the law if Roe was overturned.
Planned Parenthood and other Michigan abortion providers have continued to offer abortions since the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe was released in June. Abortion rights supporters, aware of the temporary nature of the injunction as the case progresses, muster hundreds of thousands of signatures to secure a vote in November that would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution.
Separately, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer has petitioned the Michigan Supreme Court, asking it to capture the uncertainty in Michigan by directly responding to whether the Michigan Constitution already protects the right to abortion.
In its original complaint, Planned Parenthood argued that the 1931 law – which prohibits abortion except to save the life of the mother – is so vaguely worded that “sheriffs, prosecutors and courts could have a wide discretion to assert that a range of undetermined medical practices are a crime.”
It would put doctors in the “precarious position of not knowing what acts could expose them to criminal investigation or prosecution,” the lawyers wrote in the original complaint.