1 of 2 | Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, D-Mich., Wednesday signed a bill repealing restrictive abortion legislation passed almost 100 years ago. File Photo by Andrew Harrer/UPI | License Photo
April 5 (UPI) -- Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday signed a bill repealing restrictive abortion legislation passed almost 100 years ago.
The 1931 law banned abortions without exceptions for rape or incest in Michigan. It also criminalized medical professionals, including nurses and doctors helping to facilitate the procedure.
Last fall, the issue was put to a vote and people in Michigan turned out in record numbers.
"In November, Michiganders sent a clear message: we deserve to make our own decisions about our own bodies," Whitmer said in a statement.
"Today, we are coming together to repeal the extreme 1931 law banning abortion without exceptions for rape or incest and criminalizing nurses and doctors for doing their jobs."
More than two-thirds of people in Michigan supported retaining a woman's right to abortion on a federal level, according to a January poll.
Whitmer also touted the positive economic effect of Wednesday's bill.
"Standing up for people's fundamental freedoms is the right thing to do and it's also just good economics. By getting this done, we will help attract talent and business investment too. I will continue to use every tool in my toolbox to support, protect, and affirm reproductive freedom for every Michigander, and I'll work with anyone to make Michigan a welcoming beacon of opportunity where anyone can envision a future."
Michigan joined 10 other states in removing historical legislation restricting abortion access, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.
"If you live in a state restricting your freedom to authentically live your life and make decisions for your own body, I have three words for you: come to Michigan!" Whitmer tweeted Wednesday.
"With the repeal of Michigan's 1931 criminal abortion ban, Michigan continues to lead the way in the fight to restore our fundamental right to access abortion," Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan Nicole Wells Stallworth said in a statement.
"Last June, we learned that Roe was not protected. Today, in Michigan, however, reproductive freedom, access to abortion, and the bodily autonomy to control one's reproductive health are," Democratic State Sen. Erika Geiss, the sponsor of the bill passed Wednesday, said in a statement.