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Michigan Attorney General Nessel says her office will protect abortion access, is alarmed by Supreme Court's decision

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State of Michigan
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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says she’s using the full weight of her office to protect abortion access. She says she will not discipline abortion providers or enforce other provisions of Michigan law limiting reproductive rights. But Nessel says her power is limited, and changes need to be made to Michigan’s constitution.

Michigan has a 1931 state law banning abortion, but a state Court of Claims judge is delaying that ban from taking effect. The preliminary injunction will allow for abortion access in the state for now, but Nessel says that can change.

“If we’ve learned anything it’s that all rulings by any court are temporary in nature," Nessel said.

Nessel says residents should vote for candidates who support abortion access legislation. She’s endorsing the Reproductive Freedom for All petition campaign that aims to put abortion rights on the ballot this November. She says removing the constitutional right to abortion is a “dangerous precedent” reversing decades of settled law, and says the Supreme Court is putting other civil rights protections at risk.

“I am very afraid that if those precedent setting seminal cases involving the right to privacy are overturned, then we can be in real trouble here in Michigan," Nessel said.

Republicans running for Attorney General in Michigan oppose a separate Supreme Court decision ensuring the sale of contraceptives, saying it infringes on state’s rights. While Michigan does not have a ban on birth control or condoms on the books, it does prohibit same-sex relationships, a decision nullified by another Supreme Court ruling.

Eli Newman is a Reporter/Producer for 101.9 WDET, covering breaking news, politics and community affairs. Newman is an award-winning radio journalist and was named the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Broadcast Rising Star in 2017. His work has appeared on NPR, Marketplace and the Detroit Free Press among others. Newman joined WDET as a newsroom intern in 2014 and is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he first worked in radio at the student-run station WCBN.