By: - March 3, 2023 4:43 pm

Protestors march in support of abortion rights following a Women’s Wave rally in Lansing on Oct. 8, 2022. (Andrew Roth | Michigan Advance)

In bipartisan fashion, the Michigan House approved bills on Thursday that would nullify Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban.

The vote was 58-50 on the two bills, with state Reps. Thomas Kuhn (R-Troy) and Donni Steele (R-Orion Twp.) crossing over to join Democrats to vote for the legislation.

House Bill 4006, sponsored by state Rep. Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia) directly repeals the 1931 abortion ban. House Bill 4032, sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Young (D-Detroit) removes a reference to the ban from the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Proposal 3 sign | Susan J. Demas

“We did what the voters sent us here to do — protect their rights to make the reproductive health decisions that are right for them, without government interference or threat of prosecution,” said Pohutsky, who is chair of the Progressive Women’s Caucus. “It is long overdue that we restore the liberties that Michiganders had for decades and restored in November.”

A majority of Michigan voters decided in November to enshrine and expand abortion rights via a constitutional amendment known as Proposal 3. The measure did not, however, erase Michigan’s 1931 “trigger law” that went into effect after Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court last year.

“House Democrats promised to deliver on the policies that matter to Michiganders. The people of Michigan voted to ensure access to reproductive healthcare is protected by the Michigan Constitution and our state laws should reflect the will of the voters,” said House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit). “It is a historic day. Eliminating the archaic state law that criminalizes abortion care illustrates that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are united in serving the people of this state. Even more importantly, this Democratic-led effort protects reproductive health care choices and individual freedoms.”

The bills moved from committee this week. The ACLU of Michigan and Planned Parenthood of Michigan back the legislation. The Michigan Catholic Conference testified in opposition to the measures. Right to Life of Michigan blasted the vote on Thursday.

“Our elected representatives failed Michigan citizens today. This sweeping removal of important legal protections for women and unborn children in the final stages of pregnancy takes us down an increasingly dangerous path,” said Barb Listing, president of Right to Life of Michigan.

The bills will now go to the Senate, which has its own version of the bills. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a strong supporter of abortion rights, is expected to sign legislation if it hits her desk.


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit.