Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer promised to veto legislation Tuesday that would protect unborn babies from being dismembered while their hearts are still beating inside their mothers’ wombs.
“I think that these are decisions that should be made between a woman and her doctor,” the governor said. “I’ve always supported a woman’s autonomy and freedom to make her own choices, and that should be no surprise to anyone in this town.”
Whitmer firmly stated that she will veto the legislation when it reaches her desk, The Detroit News reports.
The bills, House Bills 4320 and 4321, would add dismemberment abortions to the current state ban on partial-birth abortions. Dismemberment abortion, otherwise known as dilation and evacuation (D&E), is a procedure in which the abortionist dilates the woman’s cervix and then uses steel instruments to dismember and extract the baby from the uterus.
It is a common second-trimester abortion method. In 2017, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,777 D&E (dismemberment) abortions killing babies in this brutal fashion.
Pro-life advocates said they are ready to fight against the governor’s veto.
According to the local news:
Right to Life of Michigan spokesperson Chris Gast said the organization hopes Whitmer reconsiders, but noted the group would launch a ballot initiative on the issue if she ultimately vetoes the legislation.
“We applaud our prolife leaders in the Legislature for passing these bills to end dismemberment,” he said in an email. “If Governor Whitmer follows through on her threat, we plan on collecting 400,000 signatures to bypass her and end late-term dismemberment abortions in Michigan.”
If Right to Life met the required signature threshold under the legislative initiative process, Whitmer would not have to sign the measure. Instead, the measure would become law immediately if approved by both chambers of the legislature.
This would not be the first time that the pro-life organization has collected petition signatures – a state constitutional measure – to override a governor’s veto, according to the report.
“Tearing the arms and legs off of human beings has no place in medicine, and we’re confident most Michiganders agree it’s time to end this late-term dismemberment abortion procedure,” Gast said.
Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing previously pointed to polls showing that most Americans oppose late-term abortions.
“Dismemberment abortions are obvious violence, and that’s not how we should be treating our own children,” Listing said.
Despite the public support, abortion activists are lobbying aggressively against the legislation. A Planned Parenthood lobbyist recently defended dismemberment abortions as a “standard of care.”
Amanda West, a spokesperson for the abortion chain’s Michigan branch, slammed the bill as an “orchestrated” attack on abortion access, Mlive.com reports.
“We are here because the lies have to stop. We must call these bills what they are, nothing more than an orchestrated national strategy by anti-abortion politicians to restrict abortion,” West said.
The ACLU also hinted that it may sue if the dismemberment ban becomes law.
State Rep. Pamela Hornberger, the co-sponsor of the bill, said the measure would ban a “gruesome, horrific and cruel abortion procedure whereby a tiny baby in its mother’s womb is literally ripped apart.”
In many cases, the unborn babies may feel excruciating pain as they are being dismembered, Dr. Donna Harrison of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists testified Wednesday. She pointed to studies and practices where unborn babies in the second trimester are given anesthesia during fetal surgery to protect them from feeling pain.
Currently, 11 states ban dismemberment abortions: Ohio, Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Kentucky and North Dakota. In April, a judge blocked Ohio from enforcing its pro-life law.
ACTION: Contact Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.