Judge says Whitmer won't have to testify in abortion lawsuit

PONTIAC (AP) — A judge turned down a request to have Gov. Gretchen Whitmer testify this week at a hearing about Michigan's 1931 anti-abortion law.

A judge said Whitmer is suing a group of county prosecutors in her role as governor, not a private citizen. An appeal is being pursued by lawyers representing prosecutors in Kent and Jackson counties.

Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Cunningham will hear arguments Wednesday about whether to issue an injunction and further suspend enforcement of the law, which makes it a crime to perform abortions unless the life of the mother is in danger.

A restraining order has been in place since August 1.

Cunningham got involved when the state appeals court said a May decision suspending the law applied to the attorney general's office but not prosecutors.

Most prosecutors in counties where abortion services are offered said they don't plan to enforce the law. But Republican prosecutors in Kent and Jackson counties said they can't rule out a case if police investigate and possibly seek a warrant.

Whitmer and others in favor of abortion rights say the 1931 law violates the state constitution.The law was dormant until the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, leaving abortion policy to states.

The law is the focus of much litigation. The governor has repeatedly asked the Michigan Supreme Court to step in immediately and settle the matter.

Voters in the fall could get an opportunity to add abortion rights to the constitution.


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