Michigan House of Representatives Repeals State’s 1931 Abortion Ban

On Thursday, the Michigan House of Representatives voted to repeal the state’s 1931 abortion ban in a move that reflects the will of the majority of voters who supported enshrining abortion rights in Michigan’s constitution last fall.[0] The House voted 50-38 to repeal the law, with two Republican lawmakers, state Reps. Thomas Kuhn, R-Troy, and Donni Steele, R-Orion Twp.[1], joining Democrats in voting in favor of the repeal.[1]

The law had been largely dormant for the nearly 50 years the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade ruling cemented abortion rights across the country.[2] In June, the Supreme Court overturned Roe, which meant that the law was set to take effect once more.[2] The ballot initiative replaces an abortion prohibition that has been in effect in the state since the 1840s and was revised in 1931.[2]

The Senate voted 20-18 for six bills Wednesday that aim to repeal the state's past abortion ban. The House had already approved two of the bills, meaning they will soon be sent to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s desk.[3] Four of the bills began in the Senate and must still be voted on in the House.[3]

Lawmakers offered sharply worded rebukes of the opposing party's view on abortion and reproductive rights while debating the slate of six bills.[4] Republicans attempted to amend the bill on the floor of the legislature to link it to other legislation regarding abortion and the effects of Proposal 3. These amendments included the requirements for minors to obtain parental consent or a court order in order to access abortion services. The proposals were rejected by Democrats.[5]

Prior to the passing of the bills, Republicans attempted to introduce several amendments, yet all were declined, with each party adhering to their respective lines. Proposals that were not accepted included those that would have prohibited partial-birth abortion, forced abortion, necessitated parental permission for minors trying to get an abortion, allocated money for adoption programs, and prohibited abortions solely due to a diagnosis of Down syndrome.[4]

Sen. Rosemary Bayer declared on Twitter that her abortion was necessary in order to save her life.[6] I am delighted to be here today, and to have the opportunity to cast my vote in favor of this bill, which will guarantee the security and legality of life-saving healthcare in Michigan.[2]

0. “Michigan House sends abortion ban repeal legislation to Senate” WVPE Public Media, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.wvpe.org/wvpe-news/2023-03-03/michigan-house-sends-abortion-ban-repeal-legislation-to-senate

1. “House repeals still-on-books abortion ban after Prop 3 passage” Detroit Free Press, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2023/03/02/house-repeals-abortion-ban-after-prop-3-passage/69962571007/

2. “Michigan Senate votes to repeal 1931 abortion ban | National News | kpvi.com” KPVI News 6, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.kpvi.com/news/national_news/michigan-senate-votes-to-repeal-1931-abortion-ban/article_1b0dd447-d9f8-5540-8900-eea7f5d1a01a.html

3. “Michigan Senate votes to repeal abortion ban dating back to 1840s” Detroit News, 8 Mar. 2023, https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/michigan/2023/03/08/michigan-senate-votes-to-repeal-abortion-ban-dating-back-to-the-1840s/69985596007

4. “Senate Democrats OK abortion ban repeal over GOP opposition” Crain's Detroit Business, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.crainsdetroit.com/politics-policy/senate-democrats-ok-abortion-ban-repeal-over-gop-opposition

5. “Michigan House votes to repeal 1931 abortion ban” Bridge Michigan, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-health-watch/michigan-house-votes-repeal-1931-abortion-ban

6. “Michigan Senate votes to repeal 1931 abortion ban” CNN, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/08/politics/michigan-senate-repeal-1931-abortion-ban/index.html

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