Democrats Throwing Out Century-Old Abortion Ban In Multi-State Sweep


Democrats are getting to work.

After winning control of both state legislative chambers in the last midterm elections and holding onto the governorship, Michigan Democrats have now gotten behind another policy push, this time formally repealing an expansive ban on abortion that’s been identified as around a century old. Although the law was blocked for decades after the ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, the court recently undid that ruling, allowing once again for new limits on abortion in individual states. In Michigan, the efforts to stop those threats have seen multiple high-profile steps, from a court blocking the dated ban to voters approving an amendment to the state Constitution last year protecting rights to abortion. Now, there’s this, with the state Senate in Michigan having approved a formal repeal of the challenged ban. Governor Gretchen Whitmer would — no doubt — be signing the move.

As the Supreme Court’s decision about Roe demonstrated, you can never be too careful when it comes to something like this. Enacting the Constitutional amendment makes it that much more difficult for advocates against abortion and related forms of reproductive care to gain much rhetorical ground in the state, and taking the law formally off the storied books does away with what could have been the possibility of another judge undoing the earlier decision to block it. Voters in California and Vermont have also recently approved amendments to their state Constitutions protecting abortion rights, and a similar measure will be presented to voters in New York next year after a required couple of rounds of approvals from state legislators serving New Yorkers.

Michigan Democrats have also been working on, among other things, enacting changes to gun policy, including forcing universal background checks for gun purchases. Up to now, private sales of long guns, as they’re known, have evidently been generally exempt in the state. Democrats taking that move comes as Republicans elsewhere, like in Florida, are trying to head the opposite direction, with a proposal unveiled broadly allowing for concealed carry in the state without a permit, eliminating an avenue of oversight. A recent poll found some three-fourths of Floridians opposed the idea. Elsewhere, Democrats in the Senate recently reintroduced a measure that would reestablish legal protections for abortion at the federal level, this time in federal law, although hurdles including the filibuster rules and Republican control of the House remain looming.