Appeals court interested in dispute over Michigan 1931 abortion ban

LANSING, MI - MARCH 17: The Michigan State Capital building is seen March 17, 2008 in Lansing, Michigan. Negotiations for a re-vote Michigan primary are continuing between the Democratic National Committee, the Michigan legislature, and the two democratic presidential candidates. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images) (Bill Pugliano, 2008 Getty Images)

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Court of Appeals opened the door Wednesday to abortion opponents who are trying to overturn a recent decision that suspended the state's long-dormant ban on the procedure.

The court set a briefing schedule that runs through July 5.

A judge at the Court of Claims last week issued a preliminary injunction that freezes a 1931 ban on abortion in most instances. If the injunction stands, it means abortion would not be illegal in Michigan if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the landmark Roe v. Wade decision by summer.

Right to Life of Michigan, the Michigan Catholic Conference and two county prosecutors are asking the appeals court to throw out the injunction granted by Judge Elizabeth Gleicher, who said the law likely violates the state constitution.

They said there was no reason for Gleicher to act since abortion remains legal in Michigan.

They also noted Gleicher's past legal work for Planned Parenthood of Michigan, which filed the lawsuit, and her financial support for the organization. The judge disclosed some ties to the group but didn’t step aside from the case.

In a separate legal action, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is trying to get the Michigan Supreme Court to reach over lower courts and declare the 1931 law unconstitutional.

“The issues are live and squarely presented in this case, and there is no reason for the court to delay its consideration of these issues of vital state importance,” Assistant Attorney General Linus Banghart-Linn said in a filing Wednesday.