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Abortion law repeal lined up for Senate passage, Whitmer’s signature

Rick Pluta
Democratic Senator Erika Geiss is a sponsor of legislation to repeal Michigan’s dormant 1931 abortion ban. She said it’s important to get what she calls the “zombie law” off the books.

The state Senate adopted bills Wednesday to repeal Michigan’s dormant abortion ban. The Senate action will send the bills to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who has promised to sign them.

Repealing the 1931 law was high on the list of Democratic priorities in this session, and the Senate votes fell along party lines. The law is moot due to a voter-approved amendment to the Michigan Constitution.

But Senator Rosemary Bayer (D-Keego Harbor) said the Legislature should strike the law out of respect for what voters decided when they adopted the reproductive rights amendment.

“They voted to maintain the right of all Michiganders to make their own healthcare decisions, to make their own family planning decisions, to decide what happens to their own bodies,” she said. “These bills simply remove old language that prohibits that freedom.”

The bills to repeal the abortion law were adopted on party-line votes.

“I will not vote in support of what is before this body today,” said Senator Joseph Bellino (R-Monroe). “I encourage a ‘no’ vote on this legislation and hope to see my colleagues propose changes to protect the rights of parents as well as the most disenfranchised among us – the unborn.”

Republicans like Senator Thomas Albert (R-Lowell) said the amendment should allow room for some restrictions.

“That is certainly some creative marketing,” he said. “Abortion is not health care for the unborn child.”

“Let me remind you, a person’s reproductive health care decisions, including abortion, is none of your business,” said Senator Erika Geiss (D-Taylor), who called the dormant statute a “zombie law” that doesn’t reflect the will of voters.

Senate approval clears the way for the bills to go to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who said she will sign them.

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