by Steven Ertelt
June 6, 2007
Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox says he is planning to study a decision released earlier this week by a federal appeals court striking down a Michigan law that bans partial-birth abortions. He said he is considering appealing the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to get the law upheld.
"We’re in the process of reviewing the court’s opinion. Obviously, we will be considering it in light of the Supreme Court’s Gonzales ruling, which upheld the federal ban on partial-birth abortions," Cox spokesman Rusty Hills said Tuesday.
The nation’s high court upheld the national partial-birth abortion ban in April but the language of it is different from the Michigan law.
The federal ban describes the partial-birth abortion procedure and prohibits it — something Michigan lawmakers tried to do previously but were prevented by the courts from doing so because the Supreme Court has previously ruled such bans unconstitutional.
Michigan legislators, after getting over 400,000 petitions from residents of the state, went back and approved a new ban that included a definition of the birthing of a baby and saying that the abortion procedure amounted to infanticide.
Should Cox appeal the decision, Pam Sherstad, the director of public information for Right to Life of Michigan, said her group would support Cox. She urged him to move ahead with the appeal.
In addition to RLM, the Michigan Catholic Conference condemned the appeals court’s ruling as well, in a statement they provided LifeNews.com.
"Today’s ruling, which protects an ideology that has imposed upon our state and nation one of the must inhumane, sadistic and brutal acts of aggression that history will witness, is disappointing not only for women but also for the protection of innocent human life," MCC’s Paul Long said.
"Those who share a common interest in banning the unjust practice of partial-birth abortion will continue to work diligently until Michigan law reflects the will of the people," he added.
The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals said it was reluctant to overturn the law, but indicated that Michigan legislators could have used other bans as models, such as an Ohio ban that it had already upheld.
"We certainly are reluctant to interfere with a statute that represents the will of the elected representatives of the people of Michigan," the appeals court said.
However, the Legal Birth Definition Act was a different approach to stopping the gruesome abortions by defining birth in a way that makes the abortion procedure infanticide under state law.
It was needed in part because of the Supreme Court’s first decision in 2000 invalidating a Nebraska ban on partial-birth abortions because it did not contain a health exception.
Federal courts struck down attempts by Michigan lawmakers to ban partial-birth abortions in 1997 and 2001, so pro-life advocates obtained the signatures of 460,000 people for a ban with this new language.
Last September, the Eastern District Court declared Michigan’s statute unconstitutional, but Eric Restuccia, an assistant Michigan attorney general, told the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the law blocks just one abortion procedure and should be reinstated.
She also added that Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox has told county prosecutors not to apply the law to other types of abortions.
The appeals court, in its ruling, disagreed with that analysis.
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. The ACLU of Michigan, the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights in New York, and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America joined the case.