Michigan Politicians and Leaders React to Overturn of Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court reversed the landmark decision on Friday morning
abortion roe v wade
Photo: IStock

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade today. While abortion is still legal in Michigan for now — a Michigan court of claims judge granted an injunction against the state’s abortion ban in May — the ruling is currently being challenged by the Michigan House and Senate and in the state Court of Appeals. Here’s what Democrat and Republican state politicians and organization leaders have to stay about the news.

Reporting for this story is ongoing.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer:

Today is a sad day for America as an unelected group of conservative judges act squarely against the will of the people and medical expertise. We can all sense the despair that tens of millions of Americans—our neighbors, family members and friends—are feeling right now. However we personally feel about abortion, health—not politics—should drive important medical decisions.  

“With today’s decision, Michigan’s antiquated 1931 law banning abortion without exceptions for rape or incest and criminalizing doctors and nurses who provide reproductive care takes effect. For now, a Michigan court has put a temporary hold on the law, but that decision is not final and has already been challenged. The 1931 law would punish women and strip away their right to make decisions about their own bodies. I am deeply disappointed that Michigan’s Republican legislative leaders have been in court defending this draconian ban, to the detriment of women and families. Some legislators have gone a step further, proposing a 10-year prison sentence for abortion providers and a 20-year sentence for anyone manufacturing, selling or distributing birth control medication.   

“I want every Michigander to know that I am more determined than ever to protect access to safe, legal abortion. Now is the time to use every tool in our toolbox to protect women and reproductive health care. That is why I filed a lawsuit in April and used my executive authority to urge the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately resolve whether Michigan’s state constitution protects the right to abortion. We need to clarify that under Michigan law, access to abortion is not only legal, but constitutionally protected. In addition, my recent executive directive instructs all state departments and agencies not to cooperate with authorities from other states who want to prosecute women seeking legal abortion care and instructs departments to increase protections for reproductive healthcare. 

“I will fight like hell to protect every Michiganders’ right to make decisions about their own body with the advice of a medical professional they trust. I will not give in or give up for my kids, your kids, and the future of our great state.” 

Barbra Listing, president of Right to Life of Michigan:

“The U.S. Supreme Court justices who voted to overrule Roe are on the right side of history today. This monumental day gives the states the ability to restore legal rights to the unborn hopefully, in turn, ceasing the unjust slaughtering of the innocent in our country. We stand by our justices and thank them for their courage and wisdom in overruling a law that has plagued our society for the past 50 years.

“We urge the public and pro-abortion activists to accept this decision without violence and retaliation. The overturning of Roe v. Wade was made possible by working with the legal system and following laws. We know that one day Michigan’s 1931 abortion law will be enforced again, and the unborn will be protected against ableism, sexism, and racism. We will continue to peacefully work towards this through the legal system.

“We will also continue to use our resources and time to protect the right to life… In the meantime, we know that lives will be saved every day and families will be finding support at the 150 pregnancy resource centers across the state.

“We honor the 63 million lives lost from abortion in the past 50 years by dedicating all our efforts towards keeping Michigan a life-affirming state. We cannot change the past but thanks to the overruling of Roe v. Wade, we can control the future for our children and families.”

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist:

“Today is a tragic day for Americans and Michiganders. Against medical expertise and the overwhelming majority of Americans who support this constitutional right, a group of conservative judges we did not elect have stripped access to reproductive healthcare from tens of millions of Americans. We can all sense the hopelessness and despair that our neighbors, family, and friends are feeling right now. 

“Governor Gretchen Whitmer and I are more determined than ever to protect access to safe, legal abortion. However we personally feel about abortion, health, not politics, should drive major medical decisions. Governor Whitmer and I are committed to ensuring this constitutional right is protected here in Michigan. We will strive to build a state where everyone’s reproductive rights are respected and affirmed. We will never stop fighting for our kids, your kids, and our state’s future.” 

Attorney General Dana Nessel:

“The overturning of Roe is not just the loss of a right; it is the erosion of our status as equal citizens under the law. As a nation, we trust in our highest court to hold sacred their duty, free from political whim. Today’s decision sets a dangerous precedent in reversing 50 years’ of settled law; creating extraordinary upheaval in the American legal system; and putting at risk other individual rights that generations of Americans fought to secure and preserve.

“Now we must do what our courts have failed to do: we must act to ensure that women are not permanently relegated to second-class citizens in this country. I will continue to fight for a women’s right to choose with the full weight of my office. Michigan residents must continue to fight for reproductive rights at the ballot box in November.”

Kevin Rinke, Republican gubernatorial candidate (via Twitter):  

“SCOTUS acted appropriately by letting the people of Michigan make their own decision. I have always believed this should be a state’s rights issue. Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was openly critical of how the Court handled the decision decades ago. As governor, I will ensure that Michigan is a state that respects the sanctity of life. #RoeVsWade”

Rep. Brendan Lawrence, 14th District (via Facebook):

“Today is a dark day for America. Never in my life did I think I would see Roe v. Wade being struck down. This misguided and dangerous Supreme Court decision, overturning nearly 50 years of precedent, will harm women and families in Michigan and across the country. Abortion care is a human right. But with this life-threatening decision, several states are set to enact deadly abortion bans. Let me say this loud and clear: abortion bans don’t ban abortions; they just ban safe abortions. Today, our country is moving backwards, reproductive rights are being undermined, and women’s rights are being rolled back significantly. Now more than ever, the Senate needs to act and vote on the House-passed Women’s Health Protection Act so that women can make the best healthcare decisions for themselves and their families. We have to get this done.”