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Nessel supports nixing Michigan’s 24-hour waiting period on abortion


Nessel supports nixing Michigan’s 24-hour waiting period on abortion

Feb 27, 2024 | 6:01 pm ET
By Anna Liz Nichols
Nessel supports nixing Michigan’s 24-hour waiting period on abortion
Attorney General Dana Nessel after the State of the State speech, Jan. 24, 2024 | Anna Liz Nichols

Earlier this month, reproductive rights groups joined together for a lawsuit looking to throw out Michigan’s 24-hour waiting period for receiving an abortion, as well as other rules, calling the practices unconstitutional and naming Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel as a defendant.

But Nessel, a Democrat, says she agrees with the groups’ assertion that some of the current laws are unconstitutional and supports their request to prevent her office from enforcing those laws.

“Michigan voters spoke loud and clear when they voted to enshrine reproductive freedom into Michigan’s constitution,” Nessel said in a news release Tuesday. “It is only right that the Court issues this preliminary injunction in accordance with the protections now in place following the recent enactment of Proposal 3 [of 2022]. I remain steadfast in my commitment to ensuring that the women of Michigan receive the healthcare services, and reproductive health freedoms, they need.” 

In totality, the lawsuit, filed by The Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of Northland Family Planning Centers and Medical Students for Choice, seeks to toss out Michigan’s 24-hour waiting period for receiving an abortion, as well as mandatory pre-abortion counseling and a ban on advanced practice clinicians performing abortions.

Lawsuit seeks to overturn abortion regulations including Michigan’s 24-hour waiting period 

The lawsuit points at the voter-approved Proposal 3, otherwise known as the Reproductive Freedom for All (RFFA) amendment to the state constitution, which states: “Every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which entails the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including but not limited to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care.”

This amendment to the state constitution comes after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe. v. Wade in June 2022, eradicating the federal right to an abortion. 

“Michiganders have a fundamental right to abortion guaranteed by their state constitution,” the lawsuit reads. “Pursuant to this right, Michiganders seeking abortion must be free from medically unjustified laws denying, burdening, or infringing their decision to have an abortion. Further, Michiganders must be free of discrimination in the enforcement or protection of this constitutional right.”

The 24-hour waiting period, especially, has been criticized by abortion rights groups and a removal of the rule was originally included in a Reproductive Health Act striking out several parts of Michigan concerning the parameters of priding an abortion. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the act was signed into law in November but had other measures left out after state Rep. Karen Whitsett (D-Detroit) expressed opposition for parts of the act.

Although Nessel expressed her support for the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the 24-hour waiting period, mandatory pre-abortion distribution of information and advanced practice clinicians restrictions, the filing from her office to the court asks that injunctive relief be limited to those specific measures and not the complete segments of law listed in the lawsuit.

“The Attorney General does not oppose Plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction enjoining the enforcement of the 24-Hour Delay, Mandatory Biased Counseling, and Provider Ban provisions of the Challenged Laws. However, the Attorney General respectfully requests that this Court limit the scope of such preliminary injunction to apply to only those provisions,” the attorney general’s filing concludes.