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Partial-birth abortion ban signed into law

Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011

LANSING, Mich. - Legislation banning the procedure commonly referred to as partial-birth abortion was signed into law by the governor on Tuesday.

The legislation, which was overwhelmingly approved by a veto-proof majority of bipartisan lawmakers, mirrors a 2003 federal ban on the procedure that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007.

"The people of Michigan have repeatedly spoken on this issue and this legislation reaffirms the value of human life.  It also brings Michigan in line with federal law," Snyder said.  "I want to thank state Sen. Arlan Meekhof and state Rep. Ben Glardon for their leadership on this issue."

Although Congress banned the procedure nearly a decade ago, previous attempts to approve a similar law in Michigan were less successful.

In 2003, state lawmakers approved the Legal Birth Definition Act (Senate Bill 395 of 2003) but the legislation was vetoed by former Gov. Jennifer Granholm.  Voters then approved an initiative to ban partial-birth abortion in 2004, but the U.S. 6th Circuit Court ruled the ban unconstitutional and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the decision.  Lawmakers again approved the ban in 2008 with strong bipartisan support, but it was again vetoed.

S.B. 160, sponsored by state Sen. Arlan Meekhof, who was given up for adoption, prohibits partial-birth abortion except when necessary to protect the life of the mother. 

House Bill 4110, sponsored by state Rep. Ben Glardon, makes performing a partial-birth abortion or assisting in the procedure a felony punishable by up to two years imprisonment or a $50,000 fine.  A woman who undergoes the procedure would not face criminal charges under this law. 

S.B. 160 and H.B. 4110 are now Public Acts 168 and 169 of 2011.