Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order on Wednesday that limits her office from extraditing people to or from Michigan if they’re facing criminal charges for obtaining, providing or assisting an abortion.
The order signed by Whitmer, who has been supportive of abortion rights, aims to protect women who travel to Michigan seeking an abortion and Michigan abortion providers “who will not have to fear being extradited for prosecution in another state for offering abortion services,” according to a news release from her office.
A provider who conducts a telehealth visit from Michigan for a patient in another state and prescribes a medical abortion will also not be extradited, Whitmer’s office told CNN. The order, however, would not apply to a person who performs an abortion while in a state where it is banned.
Several states’ abortion bans went into effect after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which have criminal penalties for providing abortions. Texas and Oklahoma laws currently allow a private citizen to take civil action against abortion providers.
“I cannot in good conscience participate in other states’ efforts to make it a crime to exercise a fundamental right or to punish health-care providers,” Whitmer said in her executive order.
Whitmer’s latest action to safeguard abortion in her state follows a lawsuit she filed in April against a decades-old Michigan law that considers almost all abortions a felony.
The 1931 law was temporarily blocked by a state judge in May, ensuring that abortion is still legal in the state after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade late last month.
Using executive authority, Whitmer also asked the state’s Supreme Court to immediately consider the case, skipping over the trial court, and whether the state’s Constitution guarantees the right to an abortion. The court has yet to make a determination.
While Whitmer has been supportive of abortion rights, she’s up against a Republican-led legislative majority that has asked the Michigan Court of Appeals to overturn the injunction against the 1931 abortion law.
Michigan GOP lawmakers have also recently introduced a bill that would make performing an abortion except to save the life of a pregnant woman a felony with a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000.
In May, Whitmer also signed a directive that ordered Michigan agencies and departments not to cooperate with or assist other states in an investigation or proceeding against an individual for obtaining or providing an abortion, or assisting someone else in getting an abortion, where it’s legal.
Several other Democratic governors, including Govs. Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Janet Mills of Maine, Jared Polis of Colorado, Steve Sisolak of Nevada and Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico have signed similar executive actions to Whitmer’s to ensure people traveling to their respective states and providers are protected from prosecution by other states where abortion is restricted. At least one Republican governor, Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, has also signed an executive order to bar state agencies from assisting in other states’ investigation into patients or providers from receiving or assisting with an abortion that’s legal in Massachusetts.
CNN’s Chuck Johnston contributed to this report.