“Today’s dangerous decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals clears a path for county prosecutors to use Michigan’s extreme 1931 abortion ban to prosecute doctors and nurses and jail them for doing their jobs,” Whitmer said in a statement announcing her request for the temporary restraining order.
Michigan’s abortion ban states: “Any person who shall wilfully (sic) administer to any pregnant woman any medicine, drug, substance or thing whatever, or shall employ any instrument or other means whatever, with intent thereby to procure the miscarriage of any such woman” is guilty of a felony.
It has an exception to “preserve the life” of the woman but not in cases of rape of incest.
The law threatens abortion providers with prison time, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.
“The most important economic decision a woman makes in her lifetime is when and whether to have a child and this court decision threatens to rip that away from every woman in the country,” the governor previously said. “It’s going to be up to governors and that’s why this fight is so important.”
Monday’s appeal court order came in a separate case filed initially in the Michigan Court of Claims by Planned Parenthood of Michigan. In that case, a judge blocked enforcement of the abortion ban in May, but on Monday, the appeals court said that the judge’s ruling only applied to state officials — leaving county prosecutors free to enforce the law.
The appellate court ruling prompted Whitmer to successfully seek a temporary restraining order from the 6th Judicial Circuit Court for the County of Oakland, which is where Whitmer had launched litigation in April seeking a ruling that would strike down the 1931 abortion ban under Michigan’s Constitution.
Planned Parenthood of Michigan said in a statement after Monday morning’s appeals court ruling that its doors remain open and that it “will continue to provide abortion services in accordance with the law.” The organization pointed to court rules that say appeals court rulings do not take effect for 21 days to give the parties the opportunity to appeal. But, before the more TRO was issued on Monday afternoon, anti-abortion activists said county prosecutors could enforce the ban immediately.
CNN’s Amanda Watts and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.