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  • Photo: Jason A. Michael

‘Vote Like Your Life Depends On It’: Nessel, Whitmer On SCOTUS Decision Overturning Federal Right To Abortion

'Our doors are open,' said Planned Parenthood Michigan’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sarah Wallett

By |2022-06-24T17:00:17-04:00June 24th, 2022|Michigan, News|

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel swiftly issued a statement following the news that the Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade, which granted women in all 50 states the right to have an abortion if they so chose. Roe v. Wade has been established law for 49 years, since the landmark decision came down in 1973. 

Now it is left up to each state to decide whether to offer abortions and with what — if any — restrictions. Michigan is one of 26 states with existing laws on the book criminalizing abortion. The Michigan law, which dates back to 1931, makes it a felony to perform an abortion and has no exceptions for rape or incest. But Nessel made it abundantly clear in her statement that she does not believe the Michigan law is constitutional. 

“I will not use the resources of the Attorney General’s office to enforce an unconstitutional law that will allow the state into our bedrooms and doctor’s appointments, interfering with our fundamental reproductive rights,” she said, adding that as long as she’s in office she will not “prosecute women, girls or their doctors for seeking or providing abortion services.”

For her part, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has filed a motion asking the State Supreme Court to immediately take up a lawsuit she filed seeking to prove that the right to an abortion is guaranteed by the state’s constitution.

“The urgency of this moment is clear,” Whitmer tweeted. “We MUST clarify whether this right is constitutionally protected under Michigan law.”

Whitmer went on to say in another tweet that, “Now is the time to use every tool in our toolbox to protect women and reproductive rights. I will fight like hell to protect every Michigander’s right to make decisions about their own bodies.”

Planned Parenthood also weighed in on the matter and released a statement of their own.

“Let me be clear — abortion is still legal in Michigan, and our doors are open,” said Planned Parenthood Michigan’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sarah Wallett. “But my heart is breaking for the millions of patients living in states that will cut off abortion access in the days and weeks to come. As an abortion provider, I know how devastating it is to sit in an exam room and tell a patient I can’t help them because state politicians have restricted their access to care.”

But it was Nessel’s statements, coming from her unique opinion as the chief enforcer of laws in the state, that held particular weight.

“The impact of today’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization cannot be overstated,” Nessel said. “This opinion is an unraveling of our country as we know it. The overturning of Roe is not just the loss of a right, it is the erosion of the inalienable rights that all Americans are supposed to be entitled to. It claws back the hard-won agency women have over their bodies and lives, and it eliminates settled law relied upon by generations of Americans.”

Nessel ended her statement by encouraging everyone to “vote like your life depends on it — because it does.”

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael has been with Pride Source since 1999 and is currently senior staff writer. He has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author for his authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," released on his own JAM Books imprint.
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