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Kent County’s prosecutor signals cautious approach following overturning of Roe v. Wade

headshot of Kent County Prosecutor Christopher Becker set against a grey background
Jonathan Ritter
Kent County Prosecutor's Office
Christopher Becker is among a group of Republican county prosecutors who say a court injunction won't necessarily stop them from pursuing cases that violate the state's abortion ban.

The constitutionality of Michigan’s 1931 law banning abortion will ultimately be decided by the Michigan Supreme Court.

In May, the Michigan Court of Claims sided with Planned Parenthood of Michigan and Dr. Sarah Wallett granting a preliminary injunction blocking the enforcement of Michigan’s 1931 law outlawing abortion.

In reference to that law, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker issued a statement Monday that he will enforce laws that are on the books which includes the 1931 ban. While the measure does not criminally charge a woman seeking or receiving an abortion, it is a crime for a doctor to perform the operation.

Anastase Markou is an attorney with Levine & Levine. He says prosecutors do have discretion to not pursue certain cases.

“Prosecutors offices routinely and regularly choose not to enforce old and outdated laws," he said.

“Because there is a restraining order in place, and the restraining order specifically references the officials the Attorney General supervises, it’s a real risk for any prosecutor to charge anybody under that statute with that restraining order in existence.”

In a news release, Becker does reference two court filings challenging the statute and says those decisions will guide his actions.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is asking the Michigan Supreme Court hear a case regarding the 1931 law now.

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