Bills remove all trace of statute criminalizing reproductive health care

LANSING, Mich., March 1, 2023 — Members of the House Judiciary Committee voted today to send bills repealing the outdated 1931 abortion ban to the full House. The move comes after Democrats took the majority in the House for the first time since 2011 and follows the passage of Proposal 3, which enshrined reproductive freedoms in the Michigan Constitution.

“Michigan voters sent a clear message in 2022 — they want the freedom to make the reproductive health care decisions that work best for them, and they want elected officials who will work toward that end,” said Speaker Pro Tem Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia), chair of the Progressive Women’s Caucus and sponsor of the lead bill in the package. “After years of working under an anti-choice majority, we are one step closer to getting this archaic, criminal ban off our books.”

“As legislators, it is our duty to remove outdated and unenforceable laws from statute. The 1931 abortion ban is a prime example,” said state Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Novi), chair of the Judiciary Committee. “Not only is sending doctors and nurses to prison for providing necessary health care inhumane and immoral, the passage of Proposal 3 rendered it moot. It’s time to relegate this law to the scrap heap of history.”

Pohutsky sponsored House Bill 4006, which directly repeals the 1931 abortion ban. HBs 4031 and 4032 remove references to the law from the Corrections Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, respectively.

“The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision last spring threw reproductive health care into chaos. Doctors and nurses were afraid of giving the care they knew was right and necessary because of the threat of prison time,” said state Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Township), sponsor of HB 4031. “It’s time we put this matter to rest and no longer make it a felony for health care providers to simply do their jobs.”

“My colleagues and I have been saying it for years, and it is still true today — reproductive health care decisions belong with patients, not politicians,” said state Rep. Stephanie A. Young (D-Detroit), sponsor of HB 4032. “Taking this law off our books now is 90 years too late, but I’m proud to be part of repealing it once and for all.”