With the imminent US Supreme Court opinion and a 1931 Michigan law that would make performing an abortion a felony, reproductive rights and health care in Michigan may fall into the hands of the 2022 primary nominees and those who win the general election, occurring August 2nd and November 8th, respectively.
Michigan’s 1931 law, should Roe v. Wade be ultimately overturned, would also ban abortion in the state except in cases where a pregnant person’s life is at risk. The law gives no exception to cases involving rape or incest, which according to Johanna Kononen, could cause unintended consequences and re-traumatize victims. Kononen serves as the director of law and policy for the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Governor and Democratic nominee Gretchen Whitmer has been a champion of reproductive rights during her career, having asked the Michigan Supreme Court to strike down the 1931 law as unconstitutional and vowed to “fight like hell” to protect abortion access within her state.
Running for the position on the Democratic ticket again, Attorney General Dana Nessel has sworn not to enforce the draconic law.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan released early endorsements of Whitmer and Nessel, and the group plans to issue a full list of legislative endorsements within the next few days. In the words of spokesperson Ashlea Phenicie, the organization “does not endorse candidates who support government interference in decisions about abortion.”
The Republican candidates do not share the same endorsement. All five Republican candidates for governor and presumed GOP Attorney General nominee Matthew DePerno have voiced support for the 1931 legislation. A majority of the 66 Republican state Senate candidates and 223 state House candidates running in 2022 echo similar anti-abortion views, and several candidates up and down the ballot have suggested their support for abortion bans without exceptions.
Republican candidates seem to speak for a minority of Michiganders, and by extension Americans. A New York Times state-by-state analysis found that 55 percent of Michigan adults believe abortion should be legal in most cases while only 39 percent believe it should be illegal in most cases. In every 2018 poll conducted by EPIC-MRA, a Lansing-based survey research firm, between 50 and 58 percent of Michiganders described themselves as “pro-choice,” and between 34 and 44 percent considered themselves “pro-life.”
The majority of Americans are against the US Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, made evident by a 2020 AP VoteCast poll, which found that 69 percent of voters in the presidential election said the Supreme Court should leave Roe v. Wade as is. In the same poll, only 29 percent said the court should overturn the decision.
For Michigan voters, securing abortion rights and reproductive healthcare will be a pivotal goal as the US Supreme Court decision looms over their heads, and the key is insuring politicians who are in favor of preserving these liberties win their respective primaries and take office.