(Source: MIRS.news, Published 07/13/2022) Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined other Democratic governors Wednesday when she signed an executive order that ensures protection for people traveling to Michigan to obtain an abortion, as well as for the Michigan providers who help them.
The state will now refuse to “cooperate with out-of-state law enforcement seeking to punish women for seeking health care,” Whitmer said.
“After the overturn of Roe v. Wade and the ensuing implementation of a series of extreme bans on abortion that criminalize women and medical professionals across the country, visitors to Michigan must know that they can access reproductive health care within our borders without fear of extradition,” she said.
As trigger bans or new laws eliminating access to abortions go into effect, some states, such as Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma are looking to further restrict access to the procedure by making it unlawful for their residents to travel to other states to obtain abortions and enacting extradition procedures for those who assist or perform the abortion.
Missouri’s now-shelved legislative proposal on the matter stated that “it shall be unlawful for any person to perform or induce, or to attempt to perform or induce, an abortion on a resident or citizen of Missouri … regardless of where the abortion is or will be performed.”
Justice Brett Kavanaugh said in his concurring opinion on the overturn of Roe v. Wade that interstate travel is a constitutional right and thus women who travel to abortion-legal states for the procedure should not be able to be prosecuted.
However, in states where abortions remain legal, governors aren’t taking any chances when it comes to ensuring that those who seek safe harbor in their states to obtain the procedure are protected from prosecution.
States such as North Carolina, Colorado, Rhode Island and Maine have recently signed executive orders that refuse to extradite patients from other states, as well as the providers in their states who perform the operations on those patients.
Connecticut was the first state to do so by enacting their law addressing protection in May.
In a statement, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said that “In accordance with Connecticut law, we will resist any attempt by another state to criminalize or intrude on a woman’s private and lawful healthcare decisions.”
Whitmer’s executive order will close the loophole that anti-abortion states could exploit, if they are able to pass laws banning interstate travel for abortions.
“I will stand up for all women, even if their local and statewide leaders refuse to. Michigan must remain a place where a person’s basic rights are preserved,” Whitmer said.
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju called Whitmer a “national leader in the fight for reproductive freedom by using every tool at her disposal to protect and expand access to care for Michiganders and everybody who might cross the state’s borders to access the care they need.”