Michigan Gov. Whitmer asks state's top court to rule on abortion rights

A dormant 1931 law that bans abortion without exceptions for rape or incest could take effect in Michigan

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asked the Michigan Supreme Court to rule on whether abortion is protected by the state's constitution, just hours after the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v. Wade and returned the issue of abortion to the states. 

Before Roe v. Wade, abortion was illegal in Michigan under a 1931 law that criminalizes the practice without exceptions for rape or incest. 

That 91-year-old law will not immediately take effect because a Michigan judge issued a preliminary injunction last month, ruling that abortion is protected under the state's constitution. 

Supreme Court Police officers erect a barrier between anti-abortion and pro-abortion rights protesters outside the Supreme Court. 

Supreme Court Police officers erect a barrier between anti-abortion and pro-abortion rights protesters outside the Supreme Court.  (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Now, Whitmer wants the Michigan Supreme Court to settle the issue. 

MORE THAN 2 DOZEN STATES TO RESTRICT ABORTIONS AFTER ROE V. WADE OVERTURNED

"We need to clarify that under Michigan law, access to abortion is not only legal, but constitutionally protected," Whitmer said in a statement. "If the 1931 law goes into effect, it will punish women and strip away their right to make decisions about their own bodies."

Crowds outside the Supreme Court reacting to the Dobbs ruling.

Crowds outside the Supreme Court reacting to the Dobbs ruling. (Joshua Comins/Fox News)

Michigan's legislature is controlled by Republicans, who celebrated the Supreme Court's opinion on Friday. 

"Life has and always will be protected by our Constitution, as proven today by the high court, and we will continue defending the most vulnerable among us here in Michigan, too," Michigan GOP Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock said in a statement. 

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"This is a cause for celebration as many innocent babies will no longer have their lives cut short and will be allowed a chance that many others were not given – life."