DETROIT, September 15, 2005 ( – An attempt by Michigan state residents and lawmakers to ban partial-birth abortion has once again failed after a judge there ruled the law unconstitutional for failing to allow an exception for the so-called health of the mother. In the history of abortion, the term “health” of the mother has been interpreted so broadly as to make any form of abortion legal for any reason or no reason.

U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood ruled Monday that the Legal Birth Definition Act puts an “undue burden” on a woman’s ability to have her unborn child aborted.

In 2003, Michigan’s Republican-dominated House and Senate both passed a law banning the grisly procedure, which was ultimately vetoed by Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm. A pro-life coalition subsequently presented a record-breaking 460,000-signature petition that effectively over-ruled the veto. The Michigan law differed from previous attempts because it did not address the procedure itself, but focused on the legal definition of a person, saying that a person comes into existence at any time any part of the child is outside the mother’s body.

The “People’s Override” petition drive, which was launched January 15 by Right to Life of Michigan, the Michigan Catholic Conference and the Knights of Columbus, nearly doubled the number of signatures needed and concluded in half the time allowed by state law. In addition, two new state records were set during the unprecedented campaign: the most signatures ever collected without paying circulators, and the highest validity rate of signatures collected at 97.3 percent.

Before the law was to come into effect, March 30, the American Civil Liberties Union, in collusion with the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood Federation of America, challenged the law in court.

Michigan Catholic Conference President and Chief Executive Officer Sister Monica Kostielney, R.S.M., responded to the news. “Obviously today’s ruling is a setback; a setback for women, for unborn children and for the protection of innocent human life,” she said. “Consequently, the dedicated fight to end heinous partial-birth abortions will continue. It is the sincere hope of the Michigan Catholic Conference that the Attorney General will appeal Judge Hood’s decision to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court.”

“The Michigan Catholic Conference disagrees with the judge’s decision that the Legal Birth Definition Act presents an ‘undue burden’ and is unconstitutionally vague,” Sister Kostielney added. “We look forward to the Sixth Circuit Court upholding the state law based on the adequate health protection as previously ruled in the Taft decision.”

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