September 21, 2011 — The Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature on Wednesday is expected to approve a set of bills (HB 4109, HB 4110, SB 160 and SB 161) that would ban a procedure opponents call "partial-birth" abortion, the Detroit News reports. House and Senate leaders on Tuesday said they have enough votes to pass the bills, which would need to be signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder (R) (Bouffard, Detroit News, 9/20).
Lawmakers in Michigan have been unsuccessful in enacting a state-level ban on the procedure because of vetoes from former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) and court rulings. In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a 2003 federal law banning the procedure (AP/Houston Chronicle, 9/21).
If the bills pass, performing the procedure in Michigan would become a felony punishable by up to two years in prison and a $50,000 fine. The legislation also would allow the woman's spouse (or parents, in the case of a minor) to sue the abortion provider for civil damages. The legislation includes an exception if the abortion is necessary to save the woman's life.
Sarah Scranton, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, said, "This is already illegal, and since (the federal ban), there have been no cases reported in Michigan or across the country." She also pointed out, "The legislation keeps doctors from using their own judgment. We really believe that women and their doctors should be making these decisions and not politicians" (Detroit News, 9/20).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.