Michigan Attorney General Says She Won’t Enforce a State Abortion Law

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Dana Nessel, a Democrat, is the Attorney General for the state of Michigan. She just declared this week that she will not abide by a 91-year-old law on the books of her state that outlaws abortion. She apparently supports a lawsuit filed against her office by Planned Parenthood.

According to local news agencies in Michigan, Nessel said that she will not erect a “conflict wall” for this case in the office of the attorney general unless she is ordered to by a court.

Nessel said that the Michigan law is dangerous and it “strips women of their dignity and bodily autonomy, and in some cases, of their lives. I will not enforce it, and neither will I defend it. I will take no part of driving women back into the dark ages and the back alleys.” This was reported in the Detroit Free Press, a USA Today affiliated news agency.

The Detroit Free Press explained why this law that has been unenforced since Roe v. Wade in 1973 is still important. The 1931 law makes providing abortion in the state of Michigan a felony in every case except when the life of the mother is at stake. The law became unenforceable after the Supreme Court gave its Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973.

But there is a new Supreme Court case under review, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, that might overturn the 1973 ruling. If this happens, the 81-year-old Michigan law would be enforceable again.

This is why Nessel is already speaking about how Michigan’s law endangers the lives of women and may even result in women in the state dying.

“I will not utilize the resources of my department to endanger the lives of millions of women in my state. I will not defend (the state law) unless or until ordered to by a court. I don’t want to use the resources of my offices and I don’t think I should be made to use the resources of my office to enforce a law that I know will result in women dying in this state,” Nessel said, according to the Free Press.

She went even further saying that she did not become the attorney general so that she could lead an office that could cause women to die.

Nessel went so far as to share her own story of having an abortion in 2002. She became pregnant with triplets and was told that she would miscarry all three unless she terminated one child.

Planned Parenthood is trying to work ahead just in case Roe v. Wade is overturned so they sued Nessel’s office hoping that the attorney general would not prosecute anyone through the 1931 law.

The lawsuit from Planned Parenthood intends for the court to recognize that there is a right to an abortion in the state constitution. This is just like the lawsuit filed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer from Michigan. Governor Whitmer’s lawsuit says that the 1931 law “was rooted in a desire to control women and reinforce patriarchy and therefore is not substantially related to an important governmental objective.”

Nessel is not alone. Josh Kaul, the attorney general from Wisconsin, has also told the media that he would not enforce a state law that was written in 1849. It would make abortion a crime in his state if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Nessel’s stand is clear, she believes abortion care is just a component of women’s health care. And as Michigan’s top law enforcement officer, she will not waiver in her stance on the issue. She refuses to prosecute women or doctors for what she believes is a personal medical decision.

So…an attorney general will blatantly refuse to keep a state law. I wonder what the votes will say to that?