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Pro-abortion-rights prosecutors ask for statewide abortion decision

Jodi Westrick | Michigan Radio

Prosecutors in Michigan are lining up on different sides of an argument about whether the state's 1931 sweeping ban on abortion services is enforceable. Seven county prosecutors who favor abortion rights have filed a brief with the Michigan Supreme Court. They'd like a ruling that abortion rights are protected by the Michigan Constitution.

The amicus brief is a response to arguments by other prosecutors that they have the power and the discretion to bring criminal charges against abortion providers in their counties. The brief is also a challenge to an appeals court decision that could clear the way for that.

"I don't think it's in anyone's best interest to have your rights determined based on whether or not you're on the Macomb County side or the Oakland County side of the street," said Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald. "That doesn't make any sense for anybody."

The brief was also signed by prosecutors from Washtenaw, Gennessee, Kalamazoo, Marquette, Ingham, and Wayne counties.

In a separate but related action, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has also formally asked for a Michigan Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights. The court has not responded and is not required to take any action.

There is also a petition campaign that's filed signatures seeking to put a question on the statewide ballot to place an abortion rights amendment in the state constitution.