GOP lawmaker proposes new abortion ban with 10-year sentence; Whitmer calls it “scary”

Lansing – A Republican lawmaker introduced a bill banning abortion at all stages of pregnancy that would make providing an abortion a 10-year felony punishable by a fine of up to $100,000.

The bill, which would make an exception to save a mother’s life, would replace the more than century-old ban on abortion, which according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Steve Carra of Three Rivers, was unlikely to withstand a court pending. challenges.

Even if passed by both houses, Carra’s bill is unlikely to survive an almost inevitable veto by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who called the legislation ‘disturbing’, ‘disturbing’ and ‘maddening. during a Wednesday appearance on NBC.

“This is going to be devastating for women, for our economy, for our ability to design our lives and make our own decisions,” the Democratic governor said. “And so it’s a really chilling reminder of the magnitude of these issues.”

Carra argued that the conception protection bill would make the 1931 abortion ban “enforceable” if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the landmark 1973 Roe ruling in the coming days and returns the decision on abortion in the States.

“This is the most comprehensive pro-life legislation introduced in Michigan and it will be legally enforceable,” Carra said in a statement Wednesday.

Michigan House Speaker Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell, has not reviewed the bill but will let the House Judiciary Committee “review it and make a recommendation as usual,” Gideon D said. ‘Assandro, spokesman for Wentworth.

Right to Life of Michigan did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the legislation.

In the past, Right to Life of Michigan has defended the state’s existing law as ready to take full effect if Roe is overturned, but some prosecutors have questioned whether changes should be made to clarify elements of the law largely dormant. A Claims Court judge stopped the potential application of the 1931 law with a preliminary injunction.

Carra’s bill says it would not criminalize a mother who undergoes an abortion procedure, nor would it ban contraceptives if they were administered “before such time as a pregnancy could be determined by conventional medical tests.” .

But the act hits the person who performs or attempts to perform an abortion with a felony of up to 10 years, and those who manufacture, sell or distribute abortion drugs for the purpose of an abortion with a felony of up to 20 years. .

Current law also makes providing an abortion a crime, but selling drugs to induce an abortion is considered a misdemeanor.

Carra’s introduction of the bill and his comments on Wednesday appear to undermine arguments his own chamber has made in legal papers about the legal adequacy and enforceability of Michigan’s current abortion ban.

The GOP-led Michigan Legislature earlier this month intervened as a defendant in a Court of Claims case filed by Planned Parenthood against Attorney General Dana Nessel. The Legislature defended the 1931 law in its filing, pushing back against Planned Parenthood’s efforts to reject the abortion ban on the grounds that there is a right to abortion in the state constitution that overrides any law of State.

Judge Elizabeth Gleicher ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood in May – before the Legislative Assembly intervened – and issued a preliminary injunction stopping the operation of the 1931 law if Roe was overturned. The state legislature is challenging the decision in the Court of Claims while Michigan Right to Life and the Michigan Catholic Conference are challenging the decision in the Court of Appeals.

In her May ruling, Gleicher ruled that Planned Parenthood was likely to succeed on her claim that there was a right to abortion in the state constitution, but Carra said Wednesday that her ruling considered the ban abortion by the state as “draconian”.

“Although the legislature will do its best to uphold this law, it will most likely result in a defeat for the pro-life movement, and it’s time to start exploring other avenues to protect the sanctity of human life,” Carra wrote in a press release Wednesday.

Separately, Whitmer filed a lawsuit in the Oakland County Circuit Court, also seeking a ruling establishing that there is a right to abortion in the state constitution. She also submitted an executive message to the Michigan Supreme Court, asking the justices to rule on her case immediately rather than allowing the issue to be decided and appealed by the lower courts first.

Democratic lawmakers introduced their own legislation in anticipation of Roe’s downfall, including Michigan’s Reproductive Health Act and bills that would repeal the 1931 abortion ban. yet to be heard by the GOP-led Legislature.

Additionally, the Reproductive Freedom for All Ballot Committee is collecting signatures for a high-profile ballot initiative that would enshrine abortion in the state constitution.

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