By Talia Kruger
ANNE ARBOR, MI — Michigan’s Court of Claims Wednesday ruled Michigan’s 1931 law banning abortion in the state is unconstitutional.
And Washtenaw County District Attorney Eli Savit took to Twitter to provide his takeaways, including that the opinion will have no effect on abortion access in Michigan at this time.
This is because, said Savit, the “1931 law was ALREADY blocked from being enforced by two ‘preliminary’ injunctions: one in this case; another from the Oakland County court in the case brought by @GovWhitmer (Governor Gretchen Whitmer.).”
As a result of these preliminary injunctions, he adds, there have been no legal blockages against safe and accessible abortions in the state.
Savit added the “ruling just makes its previous *preliminary* injunction permanent—and closes the case in that court.” However, he notes that the Court of Claims’ ruling can be appealed and likely will be.
“This isn’t the end.” states Savit, explaining the ruling will be addressed by both the Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court in the near future.
Savit did note the importance of this ruling, explaining it “expressly holds that Michigan’s anti-abortion law violates two separate provisions in the Michigan Constitution: its Due Process Clause AND its Equal Protection Clause.”
This formed the basis for preliminary injunctions prior to this decision, said Savit, although the usage of the equal protection justification is new.
According to Savit, “The basic idea there is that because the law criminalizes reproductive decisions that are made by women, but not by men, it discriminates on the basis of sex–and is thus unconstitutional.”
He adds, “Importantly, the Court of Claims’ opinion also notes that denying women–but not men–the authority to chart their reproductive futures means that women are disproportionately disadvantaged in terms of the educational, economic, and political opportunity.”
Because the holding cites both the Equal Protection and Due Process Justifications, Savit explains, if an appellate court reviews the decision they only need to agree with one of the grounds to maintain the unconstitutional nature of the anti-abortion law.
Savit said his hope is that the Michigan Reproductive Freedom For All Amendment will appear on the ballot with the goal of allowing the people, rather than politicians, judges and prosecutors to make decisions about reproductive health and freedoms.