Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Overturns 1931 Abortion Ban

“I am about to slay three zombies with one pen.”

Carlos Osorio/AP

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Michigan enshrined abortion rights in the state constitution last November, but a 1931 abortion ban remained on the books.

On Wednesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a law repealing that abortion ban, ensuring that Michigan’s laws align with its constitution and solidifying the right to an abortion in the state. Whitmer struck down three laws: one that banned abortion except when necessary to save the life of a woman, and another that made it illegal to advertise abortion drugs. She also signed a law striking abortion-related felonies from the state’s penal code.

In November, nearly 57 percent of Michigan voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that ensured the right to “reproductive freedom,” defined as “the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including but not limited to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care.” That vote made the 1931 law unenforceable.

Whitmer’s repeal of the “zombie law” was a symbolic act and a display of Democrats’ newfound power in Michigan, where they have held a trifecta in state government since November.

“Today, we’re going to take action to ensure that our statutes, our laws reflect our values and our constitution,” Whitmer said before signing the laws. “I am about to slay three zombies with one pen.”

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