Grand Rapids, MI — On May 17, the U.S. Supreme Court took up the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

The case involves Mississippi’s ban on abortion past 15 weeks of pregnancy. The central question of the case is whether a state can ban abortions before the point of viability.

Right to Life of Michigan believes the Supreme Court should do the right thing and overturn Roe v. Wade.

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “In 1973, the Supreme Court ripped away the issue of abortion from voters, and since then the lives of 60 million unborn children have been ripped away. It’s time for the Supreme Court to return the issue to the voters, where it rightly belongs in our democracy.”

Roe v. Wade created a right to abortion that is nowhere written in the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court invented a trimester framework in their decision, where states could only regulate abortion in the 2nd trimester, and states could ban abortions in the 3rd trimester—if the bans contained a health exception.

The definition of a health exception was settled the same day as Roe v. Wade in Doe v. Bolton. Health was defined to include “all factors … relevant to the well-being of the patient.” Thus, states could in theory ban abortions in the third trimester, but only if they allowed every reason to count as an exception.

In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court got rid of the trimester framework in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, instead applying an “undue burden” test: any abortion law could not create an “undue burden” on a woman seeking an abortion. The point at which states could ban abortions—while keeping an infinite health exception—was arbitrarily moved to viability, the floating point at which a child can survive outside the womb.

Listing said, “The Constitution doesn’t mention viability, or trimesters, or anything about abortion. When judges invent laws and rules that no voter ever decided, they delegitimatize their courts and usurp our democratic process.”

In Michigan, our pre-Roe v. Wade abortion law is still in legal effect, which bans all abortions except to save the life of the mother. In People v. Bricker, the Michigan Supreme Court stated that the will of Michigan voters was that abortion be banned in our state, and so they ruled that our state’s abortion ban is legally enforceable as much as allowable by the U.S. Supreme Court.

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, according to our state court precedent, Michigan’s pre-Roe v. Wade abortion ban should be fully enforceable.

Listing said, “Michigan voters had their say in November 1972, just weeks before Roe v. Wade. A supermajority of voters decided to keep our law. Roe v. Wade overturned our election and took away the human rights from an entire class of human beings. We demand they return to their proper constitutional role and follow the will of Michigan voters, which is to protect unborn children from violent deaths in abortion facilities.”

For more information: Right to Life of Michigan Director of Communication/Education Chris Gast, (616) 532-2300,

Background information:
U.S. Supreme Court abortion cases
Michigan abortion law before Roe v. Wade
People v. Bricker
What happens when Roe is overturned