Michigan State Senate to Vote on Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 20, 2011   |   5:42PM   |   Lansing, MI

Michigan could be the next state to ban partial-birth abortions following a Supreme Court decision in April 2007 upholding a federal ban on them. States are banning the abortions to allow local officials to assist federal authorities in enforcing the law and in case the federal law is ever repealed.

The Michigan state Senate tomorrow will vote on a bill that would ban the heinous practice of partial birth abortion. The Senate Judiciary Committee reported out Senate Bills 160-161 and the bills would prohibit partial birth abortions (SB 160) and provide sentencing penalties for anyone convicted of violating the law (SB 161). Both measures received a 3-1 vote to move on to the next stage of the legislative process.

The Republican-controlled Senate is expected to approve the measures, sponsored by State Sens. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, and Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive.

“I’ve always been pro-life and as a father and grandfather it’s a personal thing for me,” Hansen told the Muskegon Chronicle The Muskegon Chronicle. “Children are very, very special and they need to be protected.”

“Every life, born or unborn, is sacred and deserves to be protected,” Hansen said. “There should be penalties for performing or helping perform partial-birth abortions. My bill will help ensure that people who conduct these gruesome procedures face consequences for their actions.”

Meekhof added: “Partial-birth abortion is a barbaric act that we need to stop. I’m proud to sponsor this measure because I believe every life is precious. I look forward to seeing this bill become law.”

Hansen said the state law is needed even though Congress banned the practice, because it “makes it easier to enforce the ban in Michigan.”

In the state House, the House Families, Children & Seniors Committee reported Rep. Kevin Daley’s H.B. 4109 in June. Repeated efforts to ban partial birth abortion have been ongoing in Michigan for 15 years.

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “Partial birth abortion is an unconscionable, indefensible means of killing a child who is more born than unborn. After several laws being enacted and court rulings that blocked them, two vetoes by the previous governor and a citizen petition drive, we are grateful for the persistence of the current legislature to put this ban on the books once and for all.”

“Now is the time for Michigan to finally place this measure to protect babies who are inches from being born on our law books once and for all,” Listing says.

Those representing Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union voiced their opposition to a ban on partial birth abortion during the committee hearing.

In June 2008, pro-abortion former Gov. Jennifer Granholm vetoed a ban on partial-birth abortions for a second time. She claimed the bill needed a health exception even though the Supreme Court had already upheld a federal ban saying such an exception was unnecessary. In fact, physicians groups had indicated that late-term abortions pose problems for women’s health and there is no reason to ever do the disputed abortion procedure to protect the health of women.

In October 2003, Governor Granholm vetoed Senate Bill 395, the “Legal Birth Definition Act,” which sought to prohibit partial-birth abortion by granting full legal status to the child as soon as any part of his or her body emerges from the mother.