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September 27, 2021
LANSING - Attorney General Dana Nessel joined a coalition of 24 state attorneys general in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold its precedents protecting a woman's right to decide before viability whether to carry a pregnancy to term.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer has affirmed that stance by supporting Nessel in joining the coalition.
In an amicus brief filed with the Court, the attorneys general argue that Mississippi's pre-viability abortion ban is unconstitutional and should remain unconstitutional. In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that the Constitution does not permit States to prohibit a woman from deciding before viability whether to carry her pregnancy to term. That ruling was affirmed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992 and reaffirmed in the following decades. In today's brief, the coalition argues that Mississippi's ban is unconstitutional under settled law, and that the Court should continue to uphold this well-established precedent.
"My sentiments on this issue have never changed, nor has my commitment to protecting a woman's right to make decisions in respect to her own body," AG Nessel said. "We cannot stand idly by as legislators show blatant disregard for federal precedent. Outlawing abortion will not prevent abortions - it only prevents access to safe abortions. We, as elected officials, have a responsibility to recognize the harm this law inflicts. I am proud to join my colleagues in this fight against this constitutional upheaval and I appreciate Gov. Whitmer's support in this pursuit."
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"Attorney General Nessel and I have always stood with those fighting for their right to choose, and we will not stop now," Gov. Whitmer said. "While other states pursue extreme bans on abortion that put lives at risk and criminalize healthcare providers for doing their jobs, we will put Michiganders first and ensure everyone's fundamental rights are protected. Together, we will face down these insidious attacks on reproductive freedoms."
In March 2018, the governor of Mississippi signed into law what was then the strictest abortion ban in the Nation. The law prohibits abortion at 15 weeks, with few exceptions, even in cases of rape or incest. A federal district court judge struck down the law stating that Mississippi "chose to pass a law it knew was unconstitutional...to ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade." The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling.
Mississippi's attempt to undo decades of Supreme Court precedent comes amidst years of attempts by other States to strip Americans of their right to decide what is best for their bodies and futures. This year alone, 10 states have enacted bans on pre-viability abortions. In total, 16 states have now enacted pre-viability abortion bans.
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In filing the brief, Attorney General Nessel joined the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, the District of Columbia.
A copy of the brief is available here.
Earlier this month, Nessel also joined a coalition in supporting the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) challenge to Texas' new unconstitutional ban on abortions. Gov. Whitmer supports that sign on as well.
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