A group of Michigan lawmakers are working to make abortion less accessible in their state. A proposed Michigan abortion ban would prohibit dilation and evacuation procedures, often referred to as a D&E, according to local news outlet MLive. The legislative initiative would also reclassify the procedure, which is commonly performed on women in their second trimester, as "dismemberment" abortions.
The Guttmacher Institute reports that D&E is the most common way to end a pregnancy in the second trimester. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pledged to veto the legislation if it were to make it to her desk, according to MLive.
"I think that these are decisions that should be made between a woman and her doctor," Whitmer said of the proposed ban. "I’ve always supported a woman’s autonomy and freedom to make her own choices, and that should be no surprise to anyone in this town."
MLive reports that the state Senate vote fell right along party lines, with 22 Republicans voting in favor for the set of two bills and 16 Democrats voting against them. The Michigan House was also slated to vote on the ban on Tuesday, although as of mid-afternoon, a vote had not yet been reported.
If the ban were to go into place, WBCK reports, physicians who perform D&E abortions in the state would be subject to a two-year felony charge, unless they were performed to save the pregnant woman's life. They may also be fined up to $50,000, The Detroit News reports.
State Sen. Kimberly LaSata, one of the ban's sponsors, shared her own abortion story in an attempt to bolster support for the initiative.
LaSata said that she underwent an abortion that did not go as planned, and which ultimately ended in a stillbirth, according to MLive. “It bothers me 20 years later, and until the day abortion is made illegal, I will continue to fight for those unborn babies, because who else is going to fight for them,” she said, according to The Detroit News. “It should be painful. It should be a hard decision.”
If Whitmer does ultimately veto the ban, one anti-abortion group plans to try to circumvent her, per The Detroit News. The newspaper explains that Michigan allows the state legislature to enact law by itself if they receive a petition with enough signatures. The organization Right to Life has reportedly already begun preparations for such a drive.
“They are bills that are part of an orchestrated national strategy by anti-abortion politicians to restrict abortion,” Amanda West, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan director of communications, said of the bills in an interview with Michigan Radio.
Indeed, Michigan is just many states to push forward anti-abortion legislation in recent months. Georgia, for example, just passed a bill making it illegal to perform abortions after a so-called "fetal heartbeat" is detected, which for most women is at or about six weeks into gestation. The law is slated to go into effect next year. If enacted, Michigan's proposed abortion ban will almost certainly face an extensive legal battle.