Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she will refuse to enforce a Michigan law banning abortions. She then attacked Republicans, claiming the pro-life position would put women’s lives at risk.
In an interview with Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” Sunday, Nessel said she would not enforce a 1931 Michigan law outlawing abortions in almost all cases, claiming that reinstating the law would lead to doctors not giving women medical care after a miscarriage for fear of being prosecuted, and would put women’s lives in danger.
“As attorney general, I have statewide jurisdiction,” Nessel began. “And I ran on a platform of understanding that likely during the course of my term, Roe v. Wade would be overturned. And this incredibly draconian and strict 1931 law would criminalize abortion in this state with virtually no exceptions – no exception for rape, for incest, no exception for medical emergencies. And understanding that the lives of our 2.2 million women who are of childbearing age in this state, their lives would be at risk. I refuse to enforce this draconian law that will endanger their lives and put in jeopardy the health, safety and welfare of the lives of each and every woman in the state of Michigan.”
Nessel told Todd that the law does not make exceptions for medical emergencies, but Politico reported in April: “The Michigan law bans abortion at any stage of pregnancy, with an exception for the health of a woman but not for cases of rape or incest.” [emphasis added]
Todd then asked about a particular provision in the law banning the sale of abortifacient drugs. Nessel claimed that the law would not only punish abortion and abortion medication providers, but also the women who get them: “we’re talking about not just throwing providers and anybody who works with a provider, under aiding and abetting theories, in prison, but also women themselves, who procured abortion through abortion medication,” she said.
Todd continued by asking whether the law would ban medical care for women who miscarry. “Does this [law] mean a doctor cannot perform the procedure that’s necessary, essentially, when you’ve identified a miscarriage? It seems to me that some OBGYNs are going to think they are committing a crime if they essentially just do what most doctors would do right there, which is [Dilation and Curettage].”
Nessel responded, claiming that because the Dilation and Curettage procedure is the same process for both miscarried and aborted fetuses, doctors will “be so afraid” of being investigated and prosecuted that the law will have a chilling effect on medical care. “[It] will have a chilling effect, and you won’t have basic medical health care that is required for women not to have extreme health problems or even die,” Nessel claimed. “Doctors simply are not going to perform those procedures anymore because they don’t want to go to prison for it.”
Todd concluded the interview by pointing out that Governor Gretchen Whitmer filed a lawsuit in April challenging the law in the state Supreme Court, as did Planned Parenthood, and abortion activists in the state have organized a petition to put an amendment to the state constitution codifying abortion rights on the ballot in 2022. “What is the, what is the safest way to protect abortion rights in Michigan right now, of those three paths?” Todd asked.
“Well, firstly, I think each and every eligible voter in the state should be signing on to the you know, Reproductive Rights for All petition, and then coming to the polls and voting on it in November and voting for every pro-choice Democrat up and down the ticket, whether it’s for federal office or for state office,” Nessel replied. She also expressed her belief that the court would rule in favor of abortion.
She then attacked Republicans, again claiming that the pro-life position would put women’s lives at risk: “the radical and extremist position of the Republicans in our state and all around the country completely contradicts what the public wants, and it really does place the lives of women in jeopardy,” Nessel said. “Let’s be clear: women in my state, and in states all over America are going to die because of this position.”