Michigan pro-life advocates began collecting signatures Wednesday on a petition to ban brutal dismemberment abortions that tear unborn babies limb from limb while their hearts are still beating.
If Right to Life of Michigan gathers enough signatures, state voters could bypass pro-abortion Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s expected veto of the legislation.
CBS Detroit reports the pro-life organization needs at least 340,000 valid signatures within six months. The local news outlet predicted that pro-lifers almost certainly will meet the requirement.
“Our affiliates and volunteers around the state are excited we’re able to begin collecting signatures to end this barbaric procedure in Michigan,” Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said.
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 passed the legislation in May. However, Whitmer, a Democrat, promised to veto the pro-life bills, saying women should be allowed to make their own “choices” about abortion without government interference.
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Soon afterward, Right to Life of Michigan announced plans to organize a petition to enact the law without the governor’s approval, as is allowed under the state constitution.
The name of the new initiative is “Michigan Values Life: End Dismemberment Abortions.” A petition order form, circulating instructions and other materials are available on the Michigan Values Life website: michiganvalueslife.org.
The Michigan Board of State Canvassers approved the petition for circulation last week.
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,” she said.
Despite the public support, abortion activists are lobbying aggressively against the legislation. Earlier this spring, a Planned Parenthood lobbyist defended dismemberment abortions as a “standard of care.”
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.”
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.
Pro-life advocates believe the U.S. Supreme Court may uphold a ban on the gruesome procedure. Right to Life of Michigan pointed to the opinion of retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, often a swing vote on abortion cases.
In his opinion in Stenberg v. Carhart, Kennedy wrote, “The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off.”