NEW YORK – After Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation to repeal Michigan’s century old abortion ban on April 5, the state’s Catholic conference warned that the legislation does more than people realize.

Whitmer’s signature to House Bill 4006 repealed a 1931 law that made abortion a felony in all cases, except when “necessary to preserve the life of such woman.” The move answers a call of Michigan voters, who came out in record numbers last year to advocate for abortion liberalization.

What the Michigan Catholic Conference claims voters may not realize, however, is that Whitmer’s signature to House Bill 4006 paved the way for her to sign House Bill 4032 and Senate Bill 2, which removes the maximum 15-year felony for an abortion resulting in the death of a woman, and repeals the law that made distributing information on how to perform abortions a misdemeanor, respectively.

“The current legislative majority and Gov. Whitmer’s new abortion policy presents risk and harm for vulnerable women and does not reflect what voters were sold regarding Proposal 3 – that it would just ‘restore Roe v. Wade’ – because under Roe, each of these laws now being repealed served a valid purpose,” said Rebecca Mastee, a Michigan Catholic Conference Policy Advocate.

The 1931 law was slated to take effect when Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court last summer – giving the states the ability to set their own abortion laws – before it was temporarily blocked by a judge. Michigan voters then gathered a record-breaking number of signatures to spur a ballot initiative to enshrine the right to an abortion in the state constitution.

Signing House Bill 4006, Whitmer said the state was taking “action to make sure that our statutes and our laws reflect our values and our constitution.” About half of U.S. states have measures in place to protect abortion access, and a number have even expanded abortion since Roe was overturned.

Conversely, a number of states have restricted abortion since Roe was overturned.

The Michigan Catholic Conference maintains that their state should focus on making sure there are support systems in place to help women realize that abortion isn’t their only option.

“We urge public officials to work toward a society where women do not feel that abortion is their only choice when facing a difficult, unplanned, or unwanted pregnancy,” Mastee said. “Lawmakers should focus their efforts on helping women access the resources needed to support themselves and their families before, during and after birth.”

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