A partial-birth abortion entails having an abortionist partially deliver a viable baby, and then kill the child before he or she completely emerges from the womb making the procedure, by legal reasoning, an abortion rather than a homicide. The ban would make the procedure a felony punishable by a two-year prison term and a $50,000 fine.
Republican Senator Arlan Meekhof (left photo), one of the bills sponsors, called partial-birth abortion a barbaric act that we need to stop. Im proud to sponsor this measure because I believe every life is precious. Another sponsor, Republican State Senator Goeff Hansen, said before passage: Every life, born or unborn, is sacred and deserves to be protected. There should be penalties for performing or helping perform partial-birth abortions. My bill will help ensure that people who conduct these gruesome procedures face consequences for their actions.
The Detroit News reported that Michigan has enacted similar legislation several times, but the bans were found unconstitutional by the courts. Democratic former Gov. Jennifer Granholm vetoed a ban passed by the Legislature in 2008. However, this time around, reported the paper, Senate Republicans said this legislation will stand because it closely mirrors language upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007.
Ed Rivet of Michigan Right to Life assured that legislators now have the version that is immune from court challenge because it parallels the federal law.
While most Democrats opposed the ban, citing the 2003 federal law that already prohibits the practice, three Democratic state Senators Tupac Hunter (right photo, above), Steve Bieda, and John Gleason defied their party and supported the life-protecting measure.
The Detroit News reported that Democratic opponents of the measure had proposed amendments to provide exceptions in the case of rape, or possible damage to a womans health, but the proposals were rejected. Democratic Senator Glenn Anderson complained that refusing the health exception sends a message that the state of Michigan believes politicians, not doctors, know what is best for the health of a woman.
Barbara Listing, president of Michigan Right to Life, called partial-birth abortion an unconscionable, indefensible means of killing a child who is more born than unborn. She said that after several laws being enacted and court rulings that blocked them, two vetoes by the previous governor, and a citizen petition drive, we are grateful for the persistence of the current legislature to put this ban on the books once and for all.
Paul Long of the Michigan Catholic Conference, which added its influential support for the measure, called the ban common sense policy and emphasized that there is no place in our state for those who seek to terminate the life of an unborn child partially delivered from his or her mother. Today Michigan should stand proud in following the lead of dozens of other states and the federal government by prohibiting this most heinous and gruesome practice.