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Pro-Abortion Michigan AG Says She Will Not Defend the State’s Pro-Life Law if Roe Is Overturned

Todd McInturf/Detroit News via AP, File

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, said this week that she will not defend the state’s 91-year-old law outlawing abortion in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of Michigan against her office.


Local outlets reported that Nessel said she will not set up a “conflict wall” in her office to defend the case unless she is ordered to by a court. She apparently agrees with Planned Parenthood that the state’s law, enacted in 1931 and unenforced since 1973, is unconstitutional.

“This law is dangerous. This law effectively strips women of their dignity and bodily autonomy, and in some cases, of their lives. I will not enforce it, and neither will I defend it. I will take no part of driving women back into the dark ages and the back alleys,” Nessel said, according to USA Today-affiliated outlet the Detroit Free Press.

The Free Press explained  that the 1931 law makes providing an abortion in the state of Michigan a felony unless done so to protect the life of the mother. Though the law became unenforceable after Roe, a Supreme Court case currently under review, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, could overturn Roe and put Michigan’s pro-life law back into effect.

Nessel told reporters Thursday that the law protecting Michigan’s unborn children “[endangers] the lives” of women and will “result in women dying.”

“I will not utilize the resources of my department to endanger the lives of millions of women in my state. I will not defend (the state law) unless or until ordered to by a court,” Nessel said, according to the Free Press.

"I don't want to use the resources of my offices and I don't think I should be made to use the resources of my office to enforce a law that I know will result in women dying in this state," Nessel added. "I didn’t become attorney general so I could head an office that put women in a position in which some of them would likely die."


The attorney general also shared a statement regarding the lawsuit on Twitter. 

Nessel told reporters that she once had an abortion in 2002. She had become pregnant with triplets and “was eventually told [she] would miscarry all three unless [she] terminated one.”

The Michigan chapter of Planned Parenthood sued Nessel with the hopes of ensuring her office would not prosecute anyone under the 1931 abortion law if Roe is overturned. The lawsuit, which also asks a court to recognize that there is a right to an abortion in the state constitution, is similar to a separate lawsuit filed Thursday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, as Townhall covered.

In December, I reported how Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, said in an in interview that he also would not enforce a state law, enacted in 1849, the criminalizes abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe

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