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Michigan House, Senate pass bill to repeal 1931 ban on abortions

The Michigan Senate voted to pass a bill repealing the 1931 abortion ban Wednesday afternoon. The bill now heads to Governor Whitmer's desk to be signed into law.
Credit: AP
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers her State of the State address to a joint session of the House and Senate, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, at the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan legislature has voted to repeal the 1931 ban on abortion in the state.

House Bill 4006, passed in the state house on March 2 and less than a week later on March 8, the Michigan Senate also passed the bill. The bill will now head to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's desk to be signed into law.

Whitmer, who has been an outspoken supporter of repealing the law, is expected to sign the legislation. 

The single-sentence bill simply states that sections 750.14 and 750.15 of the Michigan penal code are repealed.

The two sections are part of Act 328 of 1931 which was designed to revise, consolidate, codify and add to the statutes relating to crimes, in addition to other changes to the Michigan penal code.

Section 750.14 explicitly outlaws the administering of drugs to procure a miscarriage, except to preserve the life of the mother.

Section 750.15 bans the sale, advertisement and procurement of drugs or medicine that produce abortion.

The bill passed the Senate on party lines by a vote of 20-18. Last week, the bill passed the House by a vote of 58-50 with two representatives not voting.

Two Republican representatives broke ranks with their party, voting to pass the repeal bill in the House. Thomas Kuhn representing District 57 and Donni Steele representing District 54 both voted in favor of the bill. Their districts are located in Metro Detroit.

The passage of the bill, while mostly symbolic due to the passage of Proposal 3 in the 2022 general election, will still prevent the 1931 ban on abortion from ever being enforced. Proposal 3 codified abortion rights in the Michigan Constitution.

Michigan politicians were quick to share their opinions on the passage of the bill to repeal the abortion ban.

Democrat Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel:

“Today’s repeal of this antiquated law is a victory for millions of Michigan residents who, like myself, value bodily integrity and personal freedom. I am grateful that our legislators are listening to the will of the voters who passed Proposition 3 this past fall with overwhelming support. The people of this state can rest 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 wellbeing is safeguarded from harmful legislation.”

Senate Republican Leader Aric Nesbitt:

“Republicans offered a series of amendments to hold Democrats to their promises that the passage of Proposal 3 would not impact commonsense and popular laws designed to protect women and the unborn — such provisions as protecting babies with Down syndrome, strengthening penalties against coercion, requiring parental consent for minors, improving adoption services and funding safe housing, prenatal care and other pregnancy resources for women in need.

“Instead of keeping their word, Democrats voted down every amendment we offered and chose to side with the extreme elements of their base over the majority of voters. We don’t believe radical on-demand abortion access for any reason is what Michigan voters signed up for and will do all we can to fight against extremist abortion activists and hold those who advocated for Proposal 3 at their word.”  

Republican State Senator Roger Victory:

“When Democrats and others were promoting Proposal 3 last year to enshrine abortion rights into our constitution, they said it wouldn’t affect commonsense protections — yet that is what these bills would do,” said Victory, R-Hudsonville. “As someone who is strongly pro-life and cherishes the sanctity of life, I was disappointed with the passage of Proposal 3. But I am just as disappointed that Senate Democrats are flip-flopping on these safeguards and are now passing bills that will endanger thousands of Michigan women.”

The Michigan Senate also passed a similar bill, repealing only section 750.14 of Act 328 of 1931 on Wednesday, but it is likely this bill will now die in the legislature due to the passage of House Bill 4006.

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