Whitmer promises to protect out-of-state abortion patients

July 13, 2022 GMT

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan will not comply with requests from other states to extradite abortion patients who cross state lines, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday.

Whitmer’s executive order mirrors orders from other Democratic governors hoping to protect patients and medical providers from prosecution in their home states following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

“Visitors to Michigan must know that they can access reproductive health care within our borders without fear of extradition,” Whitmer said in a statement.

Whitmer’s office did not say whether the executive order was preemptive or in response to another state’s request. A spokeswoman for Michigan Attorney General’s office told The Associated Press that the office “is not aware of any instances where extradition has been pursued.”

Democratic governors in Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and elsewhere have issued similar statements looking to protect patients and medical professionals from legal consequences in states that have banned abortion.

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Roughly half the states in the U.S. are expected to ban abortions following the Supreme Court ruling. Tight restrictions, or complete bans, are expected in the coming months in Indiana and Ohio – two Republican-led states neighboring Michigan.

Abortion currently remains legal in Michigan after an injunction issued by a state judge blocked a pre-Roe law from taking effect if Roe was overturned. That injunction could be revoked, however, as the Republican-led legislature appealed the injunction last week.

If revoked, a 1931 law banning abortion in all cases except when “necessary to preserve the life of such woman” would take affect. Whitmer has previously called on the federal government to provide clarity on the legality of Michigan residents crossing into Canada for abortions if the 1931 law takes effect.

On Monday, the organizers in Michigan looking to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution turned in 753,759 signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

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Joey Cappelletti is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.