FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LANSING—Maintaining its strong opposition to heinous partial-birth abortions, both the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives voted today to approve petition signatures overriding Governor Granholm’s veto of the Legal Birth Definition Act. The vote is in response to the record setting “People’s Override” petition drive that collected some 460,000 signatures from Michigan citizens who sought to protect the dignity of life by defining birth, which would in effect ban the partial-birth abortion procedure.
“The Michigan Catholic Conference applauds those in both chambers of the Legislature who stood steadfast today by protecting human life from an abortion procedure that is nothing less than an atrocity,” said Michigan Catholic Conference Associate for Public Policy Kristen Hemker. “The extent of citizen participation coupled with the Legislature’s repeated approval of the Legal Birth Definition Act magnifies the disturbing veto and its disregard for the sanctity of human life.”
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.
Taking a legislative approach that has never been attempted, the measure would define birth as the moment when any part of the child emerges from the birth canal—thus bestowing all rights afforded to a human being at that moment. This method effectively outlaws partial-birth abortion in Michigan while at the same time providing an important exception “to avert an imminent threat to the physical health of the mother.”
As written in the Michigan Constitution, a citizen’s initiative upon passage by the Legislature does not require a ballot vote nor does it necessitate consideration from the executive office. After passing the Senate 23–12 and the House of Representatives 74–28 the legislation is due to take effect in March 2005. Various pro-abortion groups who support the partial-birth abortion procedure have publicly stated they will challenge the law in court.
“Unfortunately, a court challenge is imminent from those who use such words as ‘radical’ and ‘extreme’ in describing the hundreds of thousands of Michigan citizens who believe in the dignity of the human person,” said Hemker. “Regardless of such organizations, Michigan citizens and their legislators spoke loud and clear today to protect innocent life by outlawing a gruesome and unnecessary procedure.”
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.
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