Michigan pro-life leaders expressed confidence that their petition to ban dismemberment abortions will succeed.
Last week was the deadline to submit signatures to the Michigan Values Life Coalition for the legislative initiative.
MLive.com reports the pro-life organizations, led by the Right to Life of Michigan, said they surpassed the requirement by at least 34,000 signatures, but they may have even more to submit to the Secretary of State’s office by the Dec. 23 deadline.
Enough signatures would mean the bill to ban dismemberment abortions could become law without pro-abortion Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature.
In the spring, Michigan lawmakers passed bills to ban the brutal practice on unborn babies, but Whitmer promised to veto the legislation.
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.
Chris Gast, communications director for Right to Life of Michigan, told the local news Monday that they plan to submit at least 374,000 signatures to the state; the requirement is 340,047.
“That’s a low-ball estimate figuring in a typical Monday mail return on the 16th, and we’ll almost certainly exceed that by some undetermined amount,” he said.
The pro-life organization sent out an email reminder to supporters last week, urging them to turn in any petitions that they may have as soon as possible.
“If you’ve given petitions to family or friends to circulate, can you do us a favor? Don’t just assume they’ve sent them in; please make sure they are aware of the deadline. In every previous petition drive, we’ve continued to receive filled out petitions for weeks after the deadline,” the organization wrote.
The coalition must process and check each signature, and then prepare and deliver them to the Michigan Bureau of Elections by next week. Then, the bureau will check them to make sure there are 340,047 valid signatures.
Once confirmed, the signatures will be sent to the Michigan Legislature for approval.
According to the pro-life organization: “They will have 40 days to approve it. If they do, the dismemberment ban becomes law with no input from Governor Gretchen Whitmer. If they don’t, it would go to the ballot. However, we’ve already sent a practically identical version of the dismemberment ban successfully through both the Michigan House and Senate in May, so we know we have the votes to avoid going to the ballot.”
A Planned Parenthood spokesperson suggested the abortion chain may sue to block the dismemberment ban if it becomes law.
“In every other state where this policy has been challenged, it’s been ruled unconstitutional,” said Angela Vasquez-Giroux, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan. “We have every reason to believe that’s what would happen here, and we will use every tool available to us to stop it from hurting Michiganders.”
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.