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Planned Parenthood asks state Supreme Court to take abortion case

Michigan Supreme Court
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Michigan Supreme Court

A decision from the Michigan Supreme Court is required to end confusion and uncertainty about the statewide status of abortion rights, according to briefs filed by Planned Parenthood and Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Planned Parenthood of Michigan filed a new motion asking the Supreme Court to take up the question of whether abortion rights are protected by the state constitution. Whitmer backed that request in a separate brief.

“The statewide injunction must remain in place until the Michigan Supreme Court can determine the constitutionality of abortion in Michigan,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Recent fire drills and a legal patchwork that changes day to day, county to county prove that our current situation is unsustainable. We need clarity.”

Deborah LaBelle is a Planned Parenthood attorney. She said multiple legal cases are in play right now, and a Supreme Court ruling would provide certainty to abortion providers and to patients. The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled earlier this week that an injunction against enforcing the ban applies to the state, but not to county prosecutors. But an Oakland County judge, in a separate-but-related case, issued a temporary restraining order that blocks prosecutors in counties with Planned Parenthood clinics from filing criminal charges.

That means, for now, abortion remains legal in Michigan.

LaBelle said Supreme Court action in this case is “time sensitive.”

“There is a great deal of chaos and concern as to what is allowed in Michigan right now,” LaBelle told Michigan Public Radio. “These are medical procedures that women need to talk to their doctor about and move on quickly. And so, we’re asking the Supreme Court to stay the Court of Appeals ruling and say for the time being, we’re going to maintain the status quo.”

On the flip side, a group of prosecutors argue that the law is enforceable, and it should be up to them to decide whether to file charges against abortion providers.

The attorney for those prosecutors says the court order stops prosecutors from doing the job they were elected to do.

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Rick Pluta is the managing editor for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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