McCall Hamilton Advocacy and Public Affairs

Updates About Public Health

MDHHS Creates Regional Health Advisory Councils

Update: Aug 8-19, 2022

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced the creation of eleven Regional Health Advisory Councils across the state. These Councils are designed to combat health disparities in both rural and underserved communities.

Composed of community organizations, the Regional Health Advisory Councils will serve populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. They will be tasked with reducing COVID disparities in minority populations, planning reduction of community-identified priority risk factors, developing and implementing practices and policies to promote equity and reduce disparities, efficiently and equitably distributing resources to communities, and developing community-driven decision making and priority setting.

They will be funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support grant. The following counties will have an established council: Genesee, Ingham, Kent, Oakland, Ottawa, Macomb, Muskegon, Saginaw, Washtenaw, Wayne, and the City of Detroit.

Judge Extends Preliminary Injunction to Block Enforcement of 1931 Law

Update: Aug 8-19, 2022

After two days of oral arguments, reproductive rights advocates won a temporary victory on August 19 when Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Cunningham extended a preliminary injunction on the 1931 law that essentially bans abortion in Michigan.

The preliminary hearing in Whitmer v. Linderman et al. was called by Judge Cunningham after a Court of Appeals (COA) decision in early August that rendered the existing injunction on the 1931 ban only applicable to state law enforcement, not local prosecutors. Quickly following the COA decision, Judge Cunningham granted Governor Whitmer’s request for a temporary restraining order on county prosecutors and called for another hearing on August 17 to review the injunction.

The decision on August 19 reinstates the injunction until after the November 8 election when voters will potentially have the opportunity to vote on a ballot proposal that will enshrine some level of abortion rights in the state Constitution. The court set a pre-trial conference for 9:30 a.m. on November 21.

At this time, any further legal action regarding the constitutionality of abortion would stem from the Michigan Supreme Court; however, it remains unclear as to whether the court will choose to act before the election.

Following the ruling, Governor Whitmer issued a statement saying, “I am grateful for this ruling that will protect women and ensure nurses and doctors can keep caring for their patients without fear of prosecution…” Right to Life of Michigan took to social media to say: “Governor Whitmer is bringing this case because they have never had the votes to change Michigan’s abortion law and doubt they will have the votes in November to add abortion into our constitution. She doesn’t really believe in democracy.”

Michigan’s 1931 Abortion Ban Law Injunction Remains in Place

Update: Jul 25-Aug 5, 2022

Michigan continues to grapple with the new reproductive health landscape in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.

Most recently, on July 29, Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher, who issued the injunction temporarily blocking the state’s 1931 abortion ban, denied a motion from Republicans in the Legislature to disqualify her from the case Planned Parenthood vs. Attorney General, challenging the constitutionality of the 1931 law. Concerns from Republicans stemmed from Judge Gleicher’s previous ties to Planned Parenthood and personal campaign contributions to Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel.

On Monday, August 1, pro-choice advocates were dealt a temporary blow when the Court of Appeals ruled that the abortion ban does not apply to local county prosecutors (who are not under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Attorney General), potentially opening the door for felony charges to be brought against physicians who perform abortions. Hours later, however, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Cunningham granted Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request for a temporary restraining order to prohibit enforcement of Michigan’s 1931 statute criminalizing abortion. In effect, local county prosecutors remain prohibited from criminally prosecuting abortion in Michigan while the order is pending.

During a hearing on August 3 in the Oakland County Circuit Court, the restraining order was extended and another hearing on August 17 was scheduled. It is possible the order could be extended for an indeterminate period of time. Separately, Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s newest filing calls on the Supreme Court to immediately consider the April lawsuit which asked the court to decide if the state’s constitution protects the right to abortion.