The American Civil Liberties Union already is preparing the paperwork to sue Michigan over legislation to ban brutal dismemberment abortions.
The legislation has not become law yet, but pro-life advocates hope that it will soon. On Monday, the Michigan Values Life committee submitted about 380,000 voter signatures to the state on a petition that would allow the pro-life measure to become law, the AP reports.
“This is a wonderful Christmas present to the unborn. Michigan values life, and it’s time for an end to these violent late-term dismemberment abortions,” said Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing.
The pro-life organizations submitted 379,418 signatures believed to be valid to the Michigan Bureau of Elections on Monday, about 40,000 more than required.
“Our committed all-volunteer force persevered through significant obstacles that kept being put in their path this year. We’ve received more than 400,000 signatures, but after thorough checking, we’ve whittled it down to our final total of valid signatures,” Listing said.
In the spring, Michigan lawmakers passed bills to ban the brutal practice on unborn babies, but Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a pro-abortion Democrat, promised to veto the legislation. The petition would allow the legislation to pass without the governor’s signature.
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.
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After the signatures are verified, the state legislature must approve the measure. Then, the pro-life bill will become law.
However, ACLU spokesperson Merissa Kovach said they are preparing to file a lawsuit when that happens, Michigan Radio reports.
“If-when the Michigan legislature passes this, we’re prepared to challenge it in court,” Kovach said.
She argued that the legislation would “force” physicians to “provide substandard medical care,” and it is unconstitutional.
The ACLU also is challenging dismemberment abortion bans in other states.
Dismemberment abortion is a procedure in which the abortionist first dilates the woman’s cervix and then uses steel instruments to dismember and extract the baby from the uterus. The procedure is usually performed between 11 and 24 weeks LMP, when the baby is somewhere between the size of a lemon and a cantaloupe.
By 11 weeks, unborn babies already have fingers and toes, heartbeats and detectable brain waves. They can respond to touch, yawn, suck their thumbs and even show signs of being right or left handed. By 22 weeks, babies now are viable outside the womb.
The Dismemberment Abortion Ban is built in part on the U.S. Supreme Court precedent set in Gonzales v. Carhart (2007), which upheld the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban and scaled back the scope of Roe v. Wade. In its opinion, former Justice Anthony Kennedy, a swing vote on abortion, described what occurs in a D&E abortion: “[F]riction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus… No one would dispute that for many, D&E is a procedure itself laden with the power to devalue human life.”
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.