Dilation and evacuation is one of the most common types of abortion used in the second trimester of a pregnancy. Right to Life of Michigan is fighting this particular form of abortion because it uses dismemberment, and the petition summary language approved by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers restates this:
An initiative petition…to define ‘dismemberment abortion;’ to prohibit a person from performing a dismemberment abortion unless necessary to save a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness or injury; to authorize the legislature to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of this proposal; to allow the spouse of a woman or parent of a minor who obtained a dismemberment abortion to sue for damages; and to prescribe criminal penalties for an individual who knowingly performs an abortion in violation of the proposed initiated law.
Michigan’s Constitution allows 40 days for the state legislature to take up legislation that is driven by petition. If they don’t take it up, the issue will go to the ballot for voters to decide.
House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) commented on the influence of the petition:
I fully anticipate if they present the proposal to us with the proper amount of signatures that it will be passed…I think it’s the right policy. In an era of divided government, you’re not going to agree on certain items that both parties feel strongly about, and that’s certainly one of the items that would fall into that category.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is a Democrat who has promised to veto any potential ban on dilation and evacuation abortions. However, she may not have the opportunity to veto; if a bill is approved by majorities in the State House and Senate, it will automatically become law.
Genevieve Marnon, legislative director for Right to Life of Michigan estimates a rough final tally of 374,000 signatures. The group must submit more than 340,000 valid signatures, and group organizers are double checking the signatures to ensure there are no issues that could lead to invalidation.
Photo credit: Anna Levinzon via Flickr, CC BY 2.0