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Michigan: Did You Know?

Did you know that the United States Supreme Court decided not to revive an anti-choice Michigan law?

In June 2007, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit struck down Michigan's "Legal Birth Definition Act" because it would have placed an undue burden on a woman's right to have an abortion.  Anti-choice Attorney General Mike Cox, who defended the law, appealed the court's decision to the United States Supreme Court.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal by, without comment, denying certiorari in January 2008.  Therefore, the Sixth Circuit's decision stands, and the law remains unconstitutional and unenforceable.

The law was so broad that it could have outlawed abortion as early as the first trimester, and it did not include a meaningful exception to protect a woman's health.  In striking down the law, the Sixth Circuit confirmed a Detroit district court judge's opinion that the law would place an "undue burden" on a woman's right to have an abortion, failed to protect women's health, contained an inadequate life exception, and included unconstitutionally vague language.

Northland Family Planning Clinic v. Cox, 394 F. Supp. 2d 978 (E.D. Mich. 2005), aff'd, 487 F.3d 323 (6th Cir. 2007), cert. denied, 128 S. Ct. 873 (Jan. 7, 2008); Libby Sander, Federal Appeals Court Rejects Michigan's Ban on a Controversial Method of Abortion, N.Y. Times, June 5, 2007.


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