Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Sunday that she will not enforce a "draconian" state law making abortion illegal if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

The state's top law enforcement officer was asked about the consequences of such a Supreme Court decision and how her office would respond during an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. Nessel, a Democrat, denounced the 1931 Michigan law criminalizing abortion while warning that it would cause females in her state to face a "really scary set of circumstances."

"As attorney general, I have statewide jurisdiction. I ran on a platform of understanding that likely, during the course of my term, Roe v. Wade would be overturned. And this incredibly draconian and strict 1931 law would criminalize abortion in this state with virtually no exceptions — no exception for rape, for incest, no exception for medical emergencies," Nessel said.

"And understanding that the lives of our 2.2 million women who are of childbearing age in this state, their lives would be at risk," she added. "I refuse to enforce this draconian law that will endanger their lives and put in jeopardy the health, safety, and welfare of the lives of each and every woman in the state of Michigan."


Asked about the possibility that doctors would stop performing certain procedures for women who were experiencing a miscarriage, for example, the state attorney general said that access to all sorts of medical care for females would be affected by Roe's overturn.

"I think that what's going to happen is doctors will be so afraid that there will be investigations into these procedures, even understanding that many times those procedures are performed where there, you know, there is no viability any longer," she explained. "But because it’s the same procedure that you might perform for an abortion, they will be so concerned that these cases will be investigated, it will have a chilling effect, and you won't have basic medical healthcare that is required for women not to have extreme health problems or even die. Doctors simply are not going to perform those procedures anymore because they don't want to go to prison for it."

Nessel took aim at the nation's highest bench less than one week after the leak of a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito showcasing the court's plans to overturn Roe. The attorney general warned that "women in my state, and in states all over America, are going to die because of this position."

"Politicians do not belong in our doctor's offices," she said. "They don't belong in our bedrooms. And they should not be making these kinds of decisions on behalf of the American public and on behalf of women across America."


The leaked draft, which suggests that the conservative majority court is on the precipice of overturning the ruling in Roe, a 1973 case that legalized abortions nationwide, has sparked outrage on both sides of the aisle, though for different reasons. While those on the Right, as well as some on the Left, have focused on the shocking nature of the leak, most Democrats have been more concerned that the nation's highest court will allow states to limit abortion access severely.