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Governor Whitmer, Attorney General Nessel, Secretary of State Benson Issue Statements on Roe v. Wade Overturn

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson have released statements after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a 1973 decision that gave women in all 50 states the constitutional right to control their own reproductive health choices.

Governor Whitmer made the following statement:

Today is a sad day for America as an unelected group of conservative judges act squarely against the will of the people and medical expertise. We can all sense the despair that tens of millions of Americans—our neighbors, family members and friends—are feeling right now. However we personally feel about abortion, health—not politics—should drive important medical decisions. 


With today’s decision, Michigan’s antiquated 1931 law banning abortion without exceptions for rape or incest and criminalizing doctors and nurses who provide reproductive care takes effect. For now, a Michigan court has put a temporary hold on the law, but that decision is not final and has already been challenged. The 1931 law would punish women and strip away their right to make decisions about their own bodies. I am deeply disappointed that Michigan’s Republican legislative leaders have been in court defending this draconian ban, to the detriment of women and families. Some legislators have gone a step further, proposing a 10-year prison sentence for abortion providers and a 20-year sentence for anyone manufacturing, selling or distributing birth control medication.  


I want every Michigander to know that I am more determined than ever to protect access to safe, legal abortion. Now is the time to use every tool in our toolbox to protect women and reproductive health care. That is why I filed a lawsuit in April and used my executive authority to urge the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately resolve whether Michigan’s state constitution protects the right to abortion. We need to clarify that under Michigan law, access to abortion is not only legal, but constitutionally protected. In addition, my recent executive directive instructs all state departments and agencies not to cooperate with authorities from other states who want to prosecute women seeking legal abortion care and instructs departments to increase protections for reproductive healthcare. 


I will fight like hell to protect every Michiganders’ right to make decisions about their own body with the advice of a medical professional they trust. I will not give in or give up for my kids, your kids, and the future of our great state.” 

Attorney General Dana Nessel stated the following:

“Although we knew this was coming after the leak of Justice Alito’s draft decision, it doesn’t make it any less shocking or unnerving that Americans will lose a fundamental right they’ve had for nearly my entire lifetime. To millions of Michiganders, this isn’t some abstract fight about social issues. These are kitchen table concerns that impact our ability to be economically stable, continue our education, and plan for our future. We all have our own personal beliefs about abortion; the decision of whether to terminate a pregnancy is a deeply personal one that should not be controlled by the state. There’s a big difference between adhering to your own personal beliefs and forcing others to abide by them.

“As I’ve repeatedly made clear, I will not use the resources of the Attorney General’s office to enforce an unconstitutional law that will allow the state into our bedrooms and doctor’s appointments, interfering with our fundamental reproductive rights. As long as I’m in office, I will not prosecute women, girls, or their doctors for seeking or providing abortion services. Nor will my staff seek licensure discipline against medical professionals who safely perform these procedures.

“…I’ve been putting domestic violence advocates on high alert: expect to see an increase in partner assault cases, including homicides, because of Roe being overturned. If women can’t exercise their right to terminate a pregnancy, that will leave them anchored to their abusers for the rest of their lives. Being forced to carry a fetus would cause catastrophic harm to women already in a precarious situation.”

“The impact of today’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization cannot be overstated. This opinion is an unraveling of our country as we know it. The overturning of Roe is not just the loss of a right, it is the erosion of the inalienable rights that all Americans are supposed to be entitled to. It claws back the hard-won agency women have over their bodies and lives, and it eliminates settled law relied upon by generations of Americans. It’s time to vote like your life depends on it — because it does.”

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson also issued a statement on the overturn of Roe v. Wade:

“Today’s decision is a devastating blow to freedom in America. It does not align with the will of the people. It was not achieved through democratic means, and it does not reflect who we are as Americans.
“The fight for a country that reflects, respects, and protects the voice of all Americans will continue. And I will continue to fight to ensure our elections enable every voice to be heard, every vote to be counted, and the will of the people to prevail.”