Michigan Pro-Life Group Launches Ballot Measure to Ban Dismemberment Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   May 16, 2019   |   12:45PM   |   Lansing, Michigan

A leading pro-life group in Michigan filed paperwork Wednesday to bypass pro-abortion Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s expected veto of legislation to protect unborn babies from brutal dismemberment abortions.

Right to Life of Michigan hopes to collect the signatures of 400,000 Michigan voters in support of the pro-life legislation.

“Governor Whitmer still has the chance to change her mind and do the right thing. If she won’t sign these bills to stop babies from having their arms and legs torn off, we’ll find 400,000 Michigan citizens who will sign it,” said Barbara Listing, president of the pro-life organization.

Earlier this week, Whitmer promised to veto the pro-life legislation, saying women should be allowed to make their own “choices” about abortion without government interference.

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.

The Michigan House and Senate both passed the legislation Tuesday.

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The AP reports the petition would need at least 340,000 valid voter signatures to meet a state constitutional measure allowing legislation to pass without the governor’s approval. The name of the new initiative is “Michigan Values Life: End Dismemberment Abortions.”

Right to Life of Michigan explained more about the process:

There are several legal and logistical steps to complete in order to begin collecting signatures, including having the petition form be approved by the Board of State Canvassers. There is also some uncertainty if the 2018 law revising the petition drive process will be challenged in court.

Listing said, “We’ve already received a large outpouring of requests to get involved. We’re asking people to be patient while we work through the initial process. We’re confident that once we begin gathering signatures that we’ll meet our goal of 400,000, no matter which set of rules we’re operating under.”

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 reported previously.

“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.