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Whitmer Asks Michigan Supreme Court To End 'Confusion' Of Abortion Ban In State

LANSING, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) -- Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is again urging the state Supreme Court to consider her lawsuit on abortion rights, citing confusion among county prosecutors and medical providers on the current status of abortion in the state.

On Friday, June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, making it no longer a federal constitutional right to abortion.

A month before the ruling, Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher granted a preliminary injunction, suspending the state's 1931 ban on abortion.

The law, which makes it a crime to assist in an abortion, has been on the books since 1931, but it has had no practical effect since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized it in 1973.

Whitmer filed a motion on Friday, initially asking the state Supreme Court to consider her lawsuit.

"Right now, abortion remains safe and legal in Michigan because of a court order temporarily blocking enforcement of the state's 1931 abortion ban," Whitmer said in a statement.

"But in the wake of the decision in Dobbs overturning Roe, certain county prosecutors and health providers have expressed confusion about the current legal status of abortion in Michigan. This only underscores the need for the Michigan Supreme Court to act now, which is why I sent a notice to the court urging them to immediately take up my lawsuit and decide if access to abortion is protected under the Michigan Constitution."

In a notice sent Monday to the state Supreme Court, Whitmer said the CEO and president of Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health (BHSH) advised staff members that Friday's ruling on Roe v. Wade meant the state's 1931 ban "is now in effect."

BHSH later reversed course a day later, citing "the uncertainties and confusion" surrounding its enforcement, and said it would continue performing abortions when medically necessary.

In an update on Sunday, the health system urged Michigan courts "to bring clarity as quickly as possible."

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said due to the injunction, Michigan providers cannot be prosecuted for performing abortions.

"As it currently stands, providing abortion care in Michigan cannot be prosecuted, and I encourage those with appointments to move forward as scheduled and consult with their doctors," Nessel said.

"Despite the Supreme Court's ruling last week, I remain committed to ensuring a woman's right to choose and will continue to fight against every attempt to limit access to care. This includes ensuring Michiganders are properly informed regarding the current state court battle that is far from over."

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