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Michigan petition drive to ban dismemberment abortions hits halfway mark

Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin

LANSING, Michigan, October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life advocates in Michigan are more than halfway to collecting enough valid signatures to initiate veto-proof legislation that would ban dismemberment abortions in the second trimester. 

The state’s Constitution allows legislation to be initiated through a petition with 340,047 valid supporters that cannot be changed by the legislature or vetoed by the governor.

The Michigan Values Life coalition has over 200,000 signatures so far. 

Right to Life of Michigan spokesman Chris Gast told LifeSiteNews that the petition drive has reached a half-way point. The coalition has a goal of collecting 400,000 signatures in all. According to a press release, the pro-life group is reporting only those signatures thought to be valid. The effort began in July, finding distribution in churches, civic groups, and through the mail. The group has until Dec. 23, 2019 to reach the required threshold. 

Michigan’s bicameral legislature passed legislation in May to ban dilation and evacuation, or D&E, abortions in the state. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she would veto the legislation when it came to her desk. 

The “dismemberment abortion" method involves using poison injections of digoxin or potassium chloride to kill the living baby and soften its bones. During the abortion, forceps and cutting instruments may be used to cut up the baby and extract it from the womb. The baby’s skull is cut open and the brains extracted by suction. 

According to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services data, the dismemberment procedure accounted for 1,777 abortions reported in Michigan in 2017, including more than 80 percent of late-term abortions.

“It is heartbreaking to hear about 1,777 innocent Michigan children being robbed by dismemberment abortion of their unique potential, their dreams, and the joy they could have brought to others,” bill sponsor Republican Sen. Tom Barrett said. “Much like partial-birth abortion, dismemberment abortion shocks the conscience, and it’s time we do something about it.”

Pro-life advocates saw the petition initiative as the only way to circumvent Gov. Whitmer’s promised veto. If Right to Life of Michigan, in cooperation with other pro-life organizations such as Michigan Catholic Conference, can collect 340,047 valid signatures, the legislation to ban dismemberment abortion will be introduced to the legislature. Once it passes the pro-life majority in the state’s legislature, it can then become law without the governor’s approval. 

According to Right to Life of Michigan, volunteers may continue to collect signatures at least through October and into early November. Michigan Right to Life President Barb Listing said, according to a release, “We are thankful for all the dedicated volunteers circulating petitions, and we are confident our incredible volunteers will collect the required number of signatures.”

Read Michigan Values Life coalition’s petition instruction here.

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