by Steven Ertelt
February 27, 2006
Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox announced Monday that he filed the brief in his appeal with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the decision issued in September by the Eastern District Court that declared Michigan’s statute prohibiting partial birth-abortion unconstitutional.
"In 2005, the Michigan Legislature passed a law to ban partial birth abortion, and I am asking the federal appellate court to uphold the will of the people," Cox said in a statement obtained by LifeNews.com.
The Northland Family Planning abortion business filed the lawsuit against the Legal Birth Definition Act and sought an injunction preventing the measure from being enforced.
In September, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood ruled the ban can’t be upheld because she claims it puts an "undue burden" on obtaining a legal abortion.
"While this matter has been on appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Ayotte v New Hampshire which held that a federal court has a duty to give effect to the constitutional applications of a statute consistent with the legislative intent," Cox said.
"That is exactly what the Attorney General Opinion I issued last April did," Cox explained.
Cox sets forth three arguments defending the ban: He says the ban applies only to the partial-birth abortion procedure, he says his AGO is binding on prosecutors, and he said the court should defer to the Michigan Supreme Court before ruling on the constitutionality.
Cox’s appeal has the support of Right to Life of Michigan.
"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," she added.
Hood claimed the law is vague and its exception for the life of the mother is 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.”
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 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.
Federal courts struck down previous Michigan partial-birth abortion bans in 1997 and 2001.