Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature is poised to vote to ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure, pushing ahead with legislation that would likely be vetoed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The bill, which is up for vote would prohibit physicians from performing a “dilation and evacuation” abortion except to save a woman’s life. The procedure, which anti-abortion advocates call “dismemberment,” was used in 1,777, or 6.7%, of abortions in Michigan in 2017.
With Whitmer expected to veto the measures if they reach her desk, Right to Life is preparing to launch an identical citizens’ initiative that could be enacted by lawmakers without her signature. Abortion-rights supporters say the legislation is unconstitutional.
Courts have blocked bans on the procedure in other states, and the issue ultimately may be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Georgia, Alabama and Other States Pass Anti-Abortion Laws
The proposed Michigan bill comes on the heels of other very strict anti-abortion bills that have already been signed into law or proposed in states such as Georgia and Alabama. Abortion legislation in Georgia and Alabama ascended in the news cycle this week, with Georgia’s governor signing a “heartbeat bill” into law on Tuesday and Alabama’s Senate postponing until next week its vote on a near-total abortion ban.
The Georgia law will ban abortions after a doctor is able to detect “a fetal heartbeat in the womb,” usually at about six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant. It was one of the nation’s most stringent proposals until the all-out ban introduced in Alabama.
Under the proposed Alabama bill, doctors would not be able to perform the procedure once a fetus is “in utero.” That version caught national attention because the bill that passed in the House allowed for a single exception, in cases involving a serious health risk “to the unborn child’s mother.” Cases of rape and incest were not exempt as they are in other states.
Keep in mind that none of these laws, even the one that was signed in Georgia are actually in effect yet, and even once they are in effect, they, as will the Michigan law if passed – will likely be challenged as unconditional.
Why would pro-life legislatures continue to propose and pass such sweeping anti-abortion laws, if they know they will be challenged under Roe V. Wade? In fact, that is exactly the point, now that there is a firm conservative majority on the Supreme Court, pro-life lawmakers have the first real chance in decades to overturn Roe V. Wade, which is their ultimate goal.
The laws in Georgia, Alabama, and in states like Mississippi and Ohio, that have also passed so-called “heartbeat laws,” have been designed to force a case to be brought before the Supreme Court. Given the current makeup of the Court, that could finally put an end to Roe V. Wade, eliminating federal protections on abortion, and put abortion legislation back in the hands of the States, where it should be.