MI: Abortion Opponents Launch Petition Drive
Anti-abortion activists launched a petition drive in Michigan to overturn Governor Jennifer Granholm's (D) veto of an abortion procedure ban passed through the state legislature. The so-called "People's Override" Campaign began collecting what it hopes will be 254,206 signatures on January 22, the 31st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion.
If the anti-abortion group succeeds in reaching its target number of signatures, it would allow the state legislature to vote again on the bill, with only a simple majority needed to pass. The governor's signature is not required at that point to make the bill law. Granholm vetoed the bill in October because it does not include a "clear exception" to protect a woman's health, according to Kaisernetwork.org. The US Supreme Court overturned a similar state law in 2000 for that very reason in Stenberg v. Carhart. The "Legal Birth Definition Act" would have given legal protection to a fetus as soon as any part of the fetus was outside the woman's body. The bill's backers claim that this bill is only meant to ban what the anti-abortion movement misleadingly call "partial-birth" abortions. This term neither refers to any particular medical procedure nor receives recognition from the medical community.
A similar federal bill was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush last year. The law was immediately enjoined by several federal judges, who will review the constitutionality of the abortion procedure ban in March.
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Media Resources: Kaisernetwork.org 1/16/04; Detroit Free Press 1/16/04; Associated Press 1/16/04; Feminist Daily News Wire