The first-term governor, who is seeking reelection this November, used her executive authority to bypass the lower courts in order to expedite the state Supreme Court’s consideration of her lawsuit.
In a statement released on April 7 Whitmer said, “In the coming weeks, we will learn if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to overturn Roe v. Wade. If Roe is overturned, abortion could become illegal in Michigan … and deprive Michigan women of the ability to make critical health care decisions for themselves.
“If the U.S. Supreme court refuses to protect the constitutional right to an abortion, the Michigan Supreme Court should step in,” she said.
Conservative political strategist Jamie Roe of Macomb County told The Epoch Times, “It’s ironic that … Whitmer is asking the same court that took away her dictatorial powers during the COVID lockdown to rule by fiat in this case.”
The lawsuit asks the court to recognize a constitutional right to abortion under the “Due Process Clause” of the state constitution and to stop the enforcement of a state law banning abortion that has been on the books since 1846. It was updated in 1931 to make performing an abortion a felony, except to save the life of the mother.
That statute was rendered moot by Roe v Wade but would again become the law of the state if Roe is overturned.
Whitmer’s suit alleges that the 1931 statute violates “a right to privacy and bodily autonomy guaranteed by the state constitution.
Whitmer said that people should be trusted “to make decisions that are best for them about their bodies and lives.”
According to the governor’s press release, the 1931 law “also violates Michigan’s ‘Equal Protection Clause’ due to the way the ban denies women equal rights because the law was adopted to reinforce antiquated notions of the proper role for women in society.”
In her statement, Whitmer said, “A near-total abortion ban … would rob women of their economic freedom and their right to decide whether to become a parent: the biggest economic decision a woman will make in her lifetime.”
The director of communications for Michigan Right to Life, Anna Visser, told The Epoch Times, “We are surprised at the governor’s action given that the pro-abortion petition drive called ‘Reproductive Freedom for All’ has until July 11 to collect the 425,059 signatures required to put a constitutional amendment enshrining abortion on the ballot.
“Governor Whitmer must have little faith in their getting the needed signatures for her to undertake this manipulative and deceitful lawsuit.
“She is willing to take her chances with a state Supreme Court, which we hope will honor the precedent set in its own 1973 decision that refused to declare the 1931 statute unconstitutional.”
That decision was handed down just months after Roe v. Wade was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“When abortion advocates tried again in 1997, the court declined to take up their case,” said Visser.