A bill banning the controversial late-term abortion procedure, also known as the “partial-birth abortion,” passed the Michigan state legislature Wednesday.
The new bill, which passed the House 75-33 and the Senate 29-8, allows the prosecuting of doctors who perform the procedure. The bill was supported by Republicans, who hold a majority in both chambers.
After the legislators agree on the final version, the bill will be sent to Gov. Rick Snyder for signature, according to local press.
The new law is parallel to the federal ban on “partial-birth abortion,” and it was passed in order to enable local authorities to prosecute those breaking it, if necessary, said a spokeswoman for the Right to Life of Michigan, Pamela Sherstad.
The federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act was enacted in 2003 and upheld in 2007. It states that: “Any physician who, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly performs a partial-birth abortion and thereby kills a human fetus shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both."
The Michigan governor, when asked by journalists, did not disclose whether he would sign the bill or not.
His spokesperson told The Detroit News that he “will remain focused on agenda items that will help turn around Michigan's economy, but respects the work of the Legislature to address their identified priorities.”
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The procedure in question involves a fetus being partially extracted from the mother's womb. It has never been established whether the procedure was definitely practiced in Michigan, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Several versions of the ban have previously either been halted in the legislature, or were vetoed by the former governor, Jennifer Granholm, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Opponents of the state law argued Wednesday that the federal ban makes a state law unnecessary.
A Democratic state senator told journalists that the bill is faulty because it “contains no exception for a woman's health."
He added that the measure “sends a message that the state of Michigan believes politicians, not doctors, know what is best for the health of a woman,” as reported by various local press agencies.
Sharon Snyder, a local Tea Party leader, who specified she was not speaking for the entire organization, described the procedure as very painful both for the mother and the baby, and said she considers it inhumane and wrong. Snyder is also a registered Michigan nurse.
“I see banning the partial-birth abortion as a good thing and a step forward that is going to protect all of us, including the unborn,” she told The Christian Post.
“It’s a brutal and violent procedure and it should not be performed under any circumstances,” she added.