DETROIT – A judge in Oakland County has just granted a temporary restraining order in response to a ruling Monday morning that cleared the way for county prosecutors to enforce Michigan’s 1931 Abortion Ban.
The battle over abortion in Michigan is playing out right before us, hour by hour. The restraining order has just been granted, effectively blocking county prosecutors from enforcing the state’s 1931 abortion ban.
“The legal fight in Michigan continues, and this temporary restraining order ensures prosecutors cannot target women or providers in the short-term,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “Women should feel comfortable to move forward with their planned medical procedures, and providers in those counties should feel confident to practice medicine free from the threat of prosecution while my department continues to pursue all legal options available to ensure reproductive healthcare in our state.”
“The county prosecutors who were challenging this issue won by losing,” said former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Barbra McQuade.
They were victorious in that the Michigan Court of Appeals struck down the injunction blocking enforcement of the 1931 abortion ban. But they failed to remove the judge who presided over the case brought forward by Planned Parenthood.
“We filed not only to have the judge recused herself but to have her injunction thrown out as applied to the prosecutors,” said Senior Legal Counsel Great Lakes Justice Center David Kallman.
The Great Lakes Justice Center represented Jackson and Kent County Prosecutors.
When Planned Parenthood sued Nessel earlier this year, Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher issued a temporary injunction.
“They tried to extend it beyond just the Attorney General and tried to bootstrap it and all the prosecutors in the state, and that’s where they made their mistake because that’s not permissible, and that’s why we won today,” Kallman said.
The ruling led Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to request a temporary restraining order against enforcement which was granted.
“In other counties where prosecutors have vowed to enforce the ban, it is a fraught time, and you face possible prosecution under state law,” McQuade said.
An appeal is likely, but during that process, Planned Parenthood says abortion is still legal in Michigan.
“Until I think we get clarity from the state Supreme Court or until we see that constitutional amendment voted upon in November on that ballot initiate that would protect the right to an abortion, we are going to find ourselves in a bit of legal quicksand,” McQuade said.
Judge Jacob James Cunningham issued a brief order saying that “Whitmer had established that prosecutors public statements would consider a case against abortion providers, coupled with the decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals about the injunction and jurisdiction county prosecutors, led the judge to write that the preliminary injunction poses a threat of the mediate and irreparable injury to the people of the state of Michigan.”