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Michigan legislature votes to repeal 1931 law criminalizing abortion drugs

The Michigan Legislature on Wednesday repealed a 1931 law that criminalized abortion drugs in the state. 

H.B. 4006 passed the state House by a 58-50 margin on March 2, and the state Senate by a 20-18 margin less than a week later. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to sign the bill.   

"Today's repeal of this antiquated law is a victory for millions of Michigan residents who, like myself, value bodily integrity and personal freedom," Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a news release. She expressed gratitude that state legislators are listening to their constituents, whose voted successfully passed Proposition 3 in November, enshrining abortion in the state constitution. 

The bill repeals Section 750.14 of Michigan penal code that makes "miscarriage" inducing drugs a felony, barring instances where the pregnant person's life is in danger. The felony carries a punishment of up to four years in prison, and/or a $5,000 fine.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Holds Round Tables on Abortion
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer listens to pastors at an abortion round table discussion at Liberty Temple Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. The Washington Post via Getty Images

Additionally, the bill repeals Section 750.15, which pertains to the advertisement or sale of abortion-inducing drugs, a criminal misdemeanor. 

The bill was originally introduced in mid-January by state Rep. Laurie Pohutsky, a Democrat from Michigan's 17th District.

"The people of this state can rest assured that their elected officials will not sit idly by in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned, and will fight to ensure that residents' health, safety, and wellbeing is safeguarded from harmful legislation," said Nessel, referencing the federal right to abortion, which was overturned by the Supreme Court in June of last year

In September, a Michigan court ruled the 1931 laws unconstitutional following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, allowing for the legal procurement of abortion-inducing medication in the state.

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