Michigan Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Gets Final Approval, Lawsuit Expected
by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
June 10, 2004
Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — For the fourth time, Michigan lawmakers passed a ban on partial-birth abortion. This time, called the Legal Birth Definition Act, the measure was approved by registered voters across the state who overrode the governor’s veto to bring the bill back to the legislature.
Having passed both houses Wednesday, the Senate by a vote of 23-12 and the House of Representatives by a 74-28 vote, the Legal Birth Definition Act becomes law without Governor Jennifer Granholm’s approval, but cannot be enforced until March 2005.
"The Michigan Catholic Conference applauds those in both chambers of the Legislature who stood steadfast today by protecting human life from an abortion procedure that is nothing less than an atrocity," said Michigan Catholic Conference Associate for Public Policy Kristen Hemker. "The extent of citizen participation coupled with the Legislature’s repeated approval of the Legal Birth Definition Act magnifies the disturbing veto and its disregard for the sanctity of human life."
Governor Granholm vetoed the same legislation last year, but a record-breaking petition drive by pro-life groups brought the legislation back to lawmakers in a veto-proof form.
"Our efforts have been record breaking from the beginning," said Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing.
"We completed the entire petition drive in half the time allotted by law," Listing explained. "We collected close to twice the number of signatures required by our state Constitution. With 460,034 signatures submitted, we set a new record in Michigan for the most signatures ever collected with volunteers."
Abortion advocates have already promised to challenge the new law before it can be enforced. While two previous partial birth abortion bans in Michigan were struck down by the courts in 1996 and 1999, supporters of the Legal Birth Definition Act say it was specifically written to pass the constitutionality tests.
The Legal Birth Definition Act seeks to ban the partial-birth abortion procedure by defining a moment of birth as the time when any part of the baby is visible outside the mother.
While President Bush recently signed a Partial-Birth Abortion Ban into law, the federal version differs from Michigan’s in that it expressly bans the partial-birth abortion procedure. It is currently being blocked until its constitutionality can be determined. A federal judge in San Francisco has found the federal ban unconstitutional, and a Nebraska judge is expected to hand down his ruling in August.