Michigan pro-life advocates rapidly are approaching the deadline to collect petition signatures to ban dismemberment abortions throughout the state.
Currently, Right to Life of Michigan is projecting to fall short of its 400,000 signature goal, but pro-life advocates still have until Dec. 12 to submit petitions.
“We’ll exceed the legal requirement, but we can’t guarantee every signature is valid—even after thorough checking. We need to collect 37,000 additional signatures in the final three weeks,” Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said.
In the spring, Michigan lawmakers passed bills to ban the brutal practice on unborn babies, but Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer promised to veto the legislation. If the petition receives enough valid signatures, voters could bypass her veto.
A dismemberment abortion, or 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 while his or her heart is still beating.
It is a common second-trimester abortion method. In 2017, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,777 D&E abortions.
Listing’s organization is one of several advocating for protections for unborn babies through the Michigan Values Life coalition. The Michigan Catholic Conference and other pro-life groups also are involved, according to MLive.com.
The pro-life organization estimated that they will have about 363,000 signatures by Dec. 13. To bypass the governor’s veto, the petition needs at least 340,047 valid signatures.
“We must have an adequate cushion above the requirement to feel confident about ending the drive successfully,” Listing said. “We don’t want to find out we’ve been disqualified after we’ve crossed the finish line.”
The organization urged volunteers to continue to collect petition signatures through Dec. 12 and to send them in as soon as possible. All petitions must be postmarked or returned to Right to Life of Michigan by Dec. 13.
“So far we’ve had more than 7,800 volunteers circulating petitions,” Listing said. “If every circulator collected five more signatures, we can close the gap in our cushion. We’re confident that our all-volunteer force will rise to this challenge.”
Despite strong public support for the ban, abortion activists have been lobbying aggressively against it. Earlier this year, a Planned Parenthood lobbyist defended dismemberment abortions as a “standard of care.” The American Civil Liberties Union also hinted that it may sue if the dismemberment ban becomes law.
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 law.