On Wednesday, the Michigan Senate passed a bill, HB 4006, which effectively repeals the state’s almost century-old law that criminalized abortion. This development comes less than a week after the state House passed the same bill on March 2. The bill, which is a single sentence, now awaits the signature of Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who is expected to sign it into law.
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HB 4006 makes it a felony punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000 to administer drugs that induce a miscarriage unless the mother’s life is in danger. Additionally, it repeals Section 750.15, which makes it a misdemeanor to advertise, publish, or sell “any pills, powder, drugs or combination of drugs” that can cause an abortion.
The bills were passed in both chambers largely on party lines, with the vote passing in the Senate 20-18 and 58-50 in the House last week, with two Republicans joining all 56 Democrats. This development is a significant win for advocates of women’s reproductive rights in Michigan, who have been pushing for a repeal of the archaic laws for years.
The decision to repeal the law has been met with a mixed reaction, with many people hailing it as a victory for personal freedom and bodily autonomy. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement, “Today’s repeal of this antiquated law is a victory for millions of Michigan residents who, like myself, value bodily integrity and personal freedom.” She went on to add that the people of the state can be assured that their elected officials will not sit idly by in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned and will fight to ensure that residents’ health, safety, and well-being are safeguarded from harmful legislation.
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer, there was confusion over whether the 1931 law went back into effect. However, a state judge ruled in September that the ban is unconstitutional, barring any state prosecutors from enforcing it.
Pro-life groups criticized the passing of the legislation and described the repeal of the 1931 law as “radical.”
“Today’s reckless vote takes us down an increasingly dangerous path, and Michiganders are watching,” Barbara Listing, president of Right to Life of Michigan said in statement. “This sweeping removal of common-sense health and safety protections that have been in place for decades further demonstrates the radical pro-abortion stance to which the majority of our elected officials have come to subscribe.”
The statement continued, “This position puts viable human life and women’s health second to an increasingly radical agenda that knows no boundaries.”