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Whitmer cheers SCOTUS abortion drug ruling

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation in April repealing the state’s 1931 law banning abortion. But the Reproductive Health Act, which would expand abortion access in Michigan and repeal many of the restrictions that still remain on the books, has stalled.
Courtesy of the Governor's Office
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Michigan.gov
Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation in April repealing the state’s 1931 law banning abortion. But the Reproductive Health Act, which would expand abortion access in Michigan and repeal many of the restrictions that still remain on the books, has stalled.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is among reproductive rights advocates cheering a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to toss a legal challenge to one of the two most commonly used medication abortion drugs. She said upholding access to mifepristone also upholds Michigan’s ability to enforce state laws that guarantee abortion rights and the reproductive freedom amendment to the state Constitution. It was adopted by voters in November of 2022.

“Mifepristone will remain safe, legal, and available to Michiganders, despite another attempt by partisan, out-of-touch extremists trying to strip away reproductive freedom,” Whitmer said in a statement released by her office. “The plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in hopes of finding a sympathetic audience in the same Supreme Court that repealed Roe (vs. Wade), a decision that has already led to more than a third of American women losing their abortion rights.”

The Supreme Court rejected the challenge on the grounds the abortion rights opponents who filed the case could not show any direct harm and therefore lacked standing. The unanimous decision is the first Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights since a majority of justices struck down Roe v. Wade.

Whitmer, a Democrat serving her second and final term as governor, said she does not expect this to be the final word since other cases and legislative efforts are percolating to test the parameters of the reproductive rights amendment.

“We will keep fighting like hell in Michigan to protect people’s fundamental freedom to make their own decisions about their own bodies,” she said.

A spokesperson for Right to Life of Michigan said the Supreme Court decision does not change its activities or its response to the state’s abortion rights laws.

“As you know, abortion is legal in Michigan,” she said in an email to Michigan Public Radio. “Our efforts to reach out to women to help them make a choice for life continues, and this ruling doesn’t impact that work.”

Reproductive rights are a political issue in this election year – including the presidential race, some close races for congressional seats and control of the state House, which currently has a very narrow Democratic majority.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.