By John Connolly

  LANSING, Michigan, April 17, 2008, ( – Michigan’s proposed ban on partial-birth abortion has been blocked by the Michigan House Judiciary Committee for months, a problem that Michigan Right to Life and Pro-Life politicians are planning to overcome in the next few days.

  Senate Bill 776, which is a replication of the federal ban on abortion, is an answer to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that a partial-birth abortion law passed in 2004 was unconstitutional. S.B. 776 passed the Michigan Senate in January by a vote of 24-13. The bill then progressed to the Michigan House, where it was expected to be passed. But the House Judiciary Committee, led by Democrat Paul Condino, has refused to complete the processes needed to send the bill to the House for a vote.

  Michigan Right to life has been negotiating with legislators to move the bill forward, as the window of negotiation time closes. It hopes to have the bill voted on by April 23, when the organization holds its annual Legislative Day, a pro-life lobbying and educational event.

“These negotiations can be tricky,” said Ed Rivet, legislative director for Michigan Right to Life, in an interview with the Michigan Messenger. “We’re hoping to break through in the next day or two. Then timing becomes less critical. Once we agree what we’re going to do, we can decide when we’re going to do it.”

“We’re moving toward action in one format or another,” he added. “We want to negotiate the least amount of collateral damage on the House floor, on both sides.”

  Observers expect House Speaker Andy Dillon to use a “discharge motion” to remove the bill from the Judiciary Committee and bring it directly to the floor for a vote. Rivet said that Dillon has been “very involved” with discussions since the beginning of the House session.

  Senator Cameron S. Brown, who sponsored the bill, maintains that there is little disagreement among legislators over partial-birth abortion, and that if the bill is taken to a vote, it will pass.

“Even though pro-life legislators make up an overwhelming majority of the Michigan House of Representatives – including the Speaker of the House – legislation to put a court-tested partial birth abortion ban on the books has been ignored since passing the Senate in January,” Brown wrote on his blog. “I have long said that there are great differences of opinion on the issue of abortion, but that there is little disagreement on the egregious nature of partial birth abortions.”

  Governor Jennifer Granholm, whose veto against the 2004 partial-birth abortion law was overturned by a people’s override, has not given any indication that she will sign or veto Senate Bill 776, should it pass.

  See previous coverage:

  Michigan and Alaska a Step Closer to Banning Partial Birth Abortion

  Partial-Birth Abortion Ban in Michigan Unconstitutional: Federal Appeals Court

  Michigan’s Citizens and Legislature Override Gov.‘s Veto of Partial Birth Abortion Ban

  325,000 Michigan Residents Sign Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Petition