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Michigan groups seek to intervene in defense of state’s pro-life law

ADF attorneys file motion on behalf of Right to Life of Michigan, Michigan Catholic Conference
Newborn Baby

LANSING, Mich. – On behalf of Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a motion Monday at the Michigan Court of Appeals to intervene in a lawsuit to defend a state law that protects unborn children. ADF attorneys, along with counsel at The Smith Appellate Law Firm and Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, filed the motion in the case, Planned Parenthood of Michigan v. Attorney General of the State of Michigan (In re Jarzynka).

In September, ADF attorneys filed two briefs at the Michigan Supreme Court, asking that court to take control of this case and order the Michigan Court of Claims to dismiss it after that court declared Michigan’s 1931 pro-life law unenforceable. In the underlying case, Planned Parent­hood and Michigan’s attorney general both agree on the outcome, so there were no adverse parties or even a controversy that would allow the court of claims to issue such a ruling. The Michigan Supreme Court has not yet acted, and the Michigan Legislature has intervened to appeal the court of claims ruling. So ADF argues that Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference should also be given intervention on appeal to defend Michigan’s pro-life law where the attorney general has chosen not to defend it.

“Michigan’s elected officials have a duty to uphold and defend the law, especially laws that protect the unborn,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch. “Attorney General Nessel should be doing everything in her power to uphold existing laws that protect the innocent and vulnerable lives of the unborn. Instead, she continues to attack a law that was rightly enacted by the people of Michigan and has been serving them well for more than 90 years. We urge the court to listen to the voices of those standing up in defense of the unborn—Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference—by allowing them to intervene in this lawsuit.”

Both Planned Parenthood and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel argued that the state’s 1931 pro-life law should be invalidated. Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference seek to protect existing pro-life laws they sponsored or defended, as well as their efforts to protect unborn life in the future.

In April, ADF attorneys filed a separate motion at the Michigan Supreme Court asking the court to allow the two pro-life groups to intervene in the governor’s attack on the same 1931 pro-life law, Whitmer v. Linderman.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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John Bursch
John Bursch
Senior Counsel, Vice President of Appellate Advocacy
John Bursch is senior counsel and vice president of appellate advocacy with Alliance Defending Freedom.