The state's leading prolife organization hailed the passage of legislation in Lansing to put a ban on partial birth abortions into Michigan's law books. The Michigan Senate and House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved identical bills on the same day, with votes of 29-8 and 75-33 in the respective chambers. The two bodies will have to settle on which of the two versions is sent to Governor Rick Snyder for his signature.
Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing declared the votes a victory for the people of Michigan. "For more than 15 years Michigan citizens have used the democratic process to seek an end to this unspeakable abortion procedure. Despite prior versions of the law being struck down by courts or vetoed by a previous governor, the unwavering conviction of hundreds of thousands of citizens that partial birth abortion must be rejected led to this victory," Listing said.
Listing also had praise for the leadership provided by Michigan legislators and the bi-partisan nature of the vote. "We are grateful for the sponsors of this legislation, the committee chairs, and the leadership in both chambers who insured the passage of this bill. These super-majority votes of both Democrats and Republicans demonstrate that the issue of protecting human life transcends party lines."
The first Michigan law to ban partial birth abortion was enacted in 1996, signed by Governor John Engler, but eventually overturned by the federal courts. Two other versions were later enacted, one in 2004 via a statewide petition drive, after Governor Jennifer Granholm vetoed the same language that had been passed by the legislature in 2003. The bill passed by the Legislature today parallels a federal law signed by President George W. Bush and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007.
The new Michigan law is slated to take effect on January 1, 2012.