A nearly century-old law banning abortion in Michigan was repealed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Wednesday.
The 1931 law banned abortion, with no exceptions for rape or incest, and called for the prosecution of reproductive care providers.
“Today, we’re going to take action to ensure that our statutes, our laws reflect our values and our constitution,” Whitmer said during a signing ceremony. “This is a long overdue step and it proves that when we keep fighting to protect everyone’s ability to make their own decisions about their bodies, we can win.”
The law remained unenforced for decades after the Supreme Court established a federal right to abortion with Roe v. Wade in 1973, but it was set to take effect when the high court overturned the decision last year.
“This is not a trigger law, this is a zombie law. This predates Roe, and it’s a threat of coming back to haunt us all” Whitmer said, celebrating the law’s repeal. “Who wants to watch me slay a zombie?”
A Michigan judge ruled in September that the ban violated the state’s constitution and was unenforceable, and voters enshrined abortion rights in the constitution with a ballot initiative in November.
The ballot initiative meant the law was no longer enforceable, but Whitmer and Democrats in the state wanted to repeal it anyway.
The Michigan House voted 58-50 last month in favor of repeal with the support of two Republicans. The Michigan Senate followed suit a few days later.