On Tuesday, the Michigan House and Senate voted to pass identical bills that would make the most common second-trimester abortion procedure a felony in the state.
Bills 4320 and 4321 each aim to ban dilation and evacuation or D&E abortions commonly referred to as a “dismemberment” abortions. A doctor who performs the procedure would be committing a felony. A D&E is the most common second-trimester abortion method and involves dilating the woman’s cervix and using instruments to pull the baby’s limbs from his body. Former abortionist, Dr. Anthony Levatino describes the procedure in the video below:
During the debate over the bills, lawmakers discussed the cruelty of the procedure. Rep. Pamela Hornberger, the bill’s sponsor, told the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee it was a “gruesome, horrific and cruel abortion procedure whereby a tiny baby in its mother’s womb is literally ripped apart.”
But Dr. Laura Owens on behalf of the ACOG repeated the debunked claim that babies aborted with this procedure cannot feel pain. In later testimony, Dr. Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, explained that babies are anesthetized during fetal surgery, and can most certainly feel pain. The measures passed 58-51 in the House and 22-16 in the Senate.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signaled her opposition to the bills. “I think that these are decisions that should be made between a woman and her doctor,” Whitmer told reporters, according to Mlive.com. “I’ve always supported a woman’s autonomy and freedom to make her own choices, and that should be no surprise to anyone in this town.”
According to the ACLU, courts have blocked similar dilation and evacuation bans in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Right to Life of Michigan has begun filing the paperwork necessary to launch a ballot initiative if this is the case, said spokesperson Chris Gast. According to the Washington Examiner, the Michigan constitution allows for legislation to be initiated by citizens. Once they reach the stipulated number of signatures, the law can be enacted without the need for the governor’s signature. “We applaud our pro-life leaders in the Legislature for passing these bills to end dismemberment,” said Gast in an email to Mlive. “If Governor Whitmer follows through on her threat, we plan on collecting 400,000 signatures to bypass her and end late-term dismemberment abortions in Michigan.”
According to the Detroit Free Press, the pro-life group has successfully passed four pro-life bills this way over the last 32 years, including parental consent laws, banning taxpayer funding for abortion, and requiring the purchase of an extra rider on health insurance if coverage for abortion is desired.
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