by Steven Ertelt
September 16, 2005
Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox says he plans to appeal a decision by a federal judge overturning new legislation designed to prohibit partial-birth abortions. U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood in Detroit ruled the Legal Birth Definition Act can’t be upheld because she claims it puts an "undue burden" on obtaining a legal abortion.
"We are disappointed by the court’s decision," Cox says. "We are currently reviewing the decision with intent to appeal to uphold the will of people of the state."
That’s good news to Right to Life of Michigan, the statewide pro-life group that decried Hood’s September 14 decision.
"One judge overruled what more than 460,000 Michigan citizens put in place," said RLM president Barbara Listing. "The people of Michigan drained the ink from Governor Granholm’s veto pen by initiating legislation to protect children who are in the process of being born, partially born children the governor chose to ignore."
Listing’s group encouraged Cox to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Six Circuit Court.
Hood claims the law is vague and its exceptions for the life of the mother unconstitutional.
"The act does not describe any specific procedure to be banned,” Hood wrote. "The act also does not distinguish between induced abortion and pregnancy loss.”
In April, Cox issued a legal opinion saying the law is constitutional and does not prohibit any more than the partial-birth abortion procedure.
Cox said the law only bans the partial-birth abortion procedure because it defines the abortion as being performed when any part of the unborn child’s body is outside the mother. Abortion advocates said the law was also unconstitutional because it banned more types of abortion procedures that state’s can’t regulate under Roe v. Wade.
He said the new law would not ban other types of abortion because they do not involve the partial birth of the baby before the abortion is performed.
However, Judge Hood disagreed and said it would ban other second trimester abortion procedures.
Abortion advocates applauded Hood’s decision and Planned Parenthood of West Michigan spokesperson Alice St.Clair told WZZM-TV, "We knew from the get-go this law was unconstitutional."
The state legislature gave final approval to the Legal Birth Definition Act in June 2004 after Governor Jennifer Granholm vetoed the bill. Pro-life groups obtained the signatures of over 460,000 people to bring the measure before the legislature in a veto-proof form.
While the courts struck two previous partial birth abortion bans in Michigan in 1996 and 1999, supporters of the Legal Birth Definition Act say it was specifically written to pass the constitutionality tests.
In a strange twist, Judge Hood did not notify the state and the abortion businesses who sued to over turn the law of her ruling. The litigants were not informed about the late Wednesday decision until notified by the media.
While President Bush 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 while the Michigan law relies on a definition of the birthing process. The federal law is currently being blocked until its constitutionality can be determined.