May 15, 2019, Grand Rapids, MI — Right to Life of Michigan has filed paperwork today to begin a petition drive to bypass Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s promised veto of legislation to ban the dismemberment abortion procedure.
On May 14, the Michigan House and Senate voted in favor of identical bills to ban dismemberment abortions . Another procedural vote is needed for the bills to be sent to Governor Whitmer’s desk.
In a statement yesterday, Governor Whitmer reiterated her opposition to any limit on abortion and promised to veto a dismemberment ban.
Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “Governor Whitmer still has the chance to change her mind and do the right thing. If she won’t sign these bills to stop babies from having their arms and legs torn off, we’ll find 400,000 Michigan citizens who will sign it.”
Right to Life of Michigan will be using Michigan’s citizen-initiated legislation process to send the bills directly to the Michigan Legislature for passage, entirely bypassing the governor. The name of the initiative is “Michigan Values Life: End Dismemberment Abortions.”
The initiative’s goal is to collect 400,000 signatures. The required number of signatures for initiated legislation is 340,047– 8 % of the 2018 total votes cast in the governor’s race.
There are several legal and logistical steps to complete in order to begin collecting signatures, including having the petition form be approved by the Board of State Canvassers. There is also some uncertainty if the 2018 law revising the petition drive process will be challenged in court.
“We’ve already received a large outpouring of requests to get involved,” Listing said. “We’re asking people to be patient while we work through the initial process. We’re confident that once we begin gathering signatures that we’ll meet our goal of 400,000, no matter which set of rules we’re operating under.”
Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy used the term “dismemberment” to describe dilation and evacuation abortions (D&E) in his U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions on partial-birth abortion.
In Stenberg v. Carhart, Justice Kennedy wrote, “The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn from 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.”
In 2017, there were 1,777 dismemberment abortions in Michigan reported to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
The dismemberment ban bills include an exception if the mother’s life is in danger. However, in published research on reasons women have abortions, the pro-abortion Alan Guttmacher Institute has stated that most late-term abortions are done for elective reasons.
In a 2013 Guttmacher Institute study, the authors admitted, “data suggest that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.”