The Michigan Constitution allows the people to initiate legislation through a petition. Currently, a Citizen’s Initiative petition drive is underway to prohibit the dismemberment abortion procedure in Michigan.
Dismemberment abortion is a particularly gruesome second trimester abortion procedure. It requires an unborn child to be dismembered limb by limb inside the mother’s womb. This petition drive, operating under the committee named Michigan Values Life, is organized by Right to Life of Michigan and is supported by Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC). It will propose a ban on dismemberment abortion for the Michigan Legislature to consider, once the signatures of approximately 340,047 registered voters are submitted to the state within 180 days of when the petition drive begins.
An initiative petition to amend section 90h of the Michigan Penal Code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.90h, to define “dismemberment abortion;” to prohibit a person from performing a dismemberment abortion unless necessary to save a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness or injury; to authorize the legislature to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of this proposal; to allow the spouse of a woman or parent of a minor who obtained a dismemberment abortion to sue for damages; and to prescribe criminal penalties for an individual who knowingly performs an abortion in violation of the proposed initiated law.
The goal is to gather 400,000 signatures throughout the summer and early fall. After the signed petitions are approved by the State Board of Canvassers, the Legislature will have 40 calendar days to vote yes or no. If a simple majority in both chambers approves the bill, it becomes law without needing the governor’s signature. If either chamber fails to vote or votes “no,” the issue will be placed before the people as a ballot question in 2020. The governor’s promise to veto legislation that would ban dismemberment abortion has been the impetus to pursue this citizen initiated legislative petition drive.