A Michigan-based pro-life group delivered 379,418 petitions to the state capitol Monday in an effort to ban an abortion procedure known as the dilation and evacuation method, or dismemberment abortion, that's performed during the second trimester.
Michigan Values Life submitted the signatures aimed at initiating the dismemberment abortion ban, well above the 340,047 number required by state law.
If enough of the petitions are certified as valid, then the legislature will have 40 days to pass the initiative, according to The Associated Press.
If the initiative is passed, according to Michigan law, then pro-choice Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will be unable to veto it, explained the AP.
“The dismemberment abortion procedure is a barbaric form of abortion that is frequently used during the second trimester of pregnancy,” stated MVL on its website.
“Unborn babies between 13-24 weeks’ gestation are literally dismembered alive in their mother’s womb. In 2018, there were 1,908 D&E or dilation and evacuation abortions performed in Michigan.”
The pro-life group Right to Life of Michigan, which oversees MVL, took to Facebook to announce the delivery of the petitions.
“Thank you so much to everyone who helped us for months with this Christmas present for the unborn,” the group said Monday. “We'll keep you updated as our petition drive to ban dismemberment abortions begins its next phase!”
In the past, Whitmer has vowed to veto any legislation banning dismemberment abortions that is passed by the Republican-controlled legislature.
“I think that these are decisions that should be made between a woman and her doctor,” she said in May. “I have always supported a woman’s autonomy and freedom to make her own choices, and that should be no surprise to anyone in this town.”
An abortion procedure commonly used in the second trimester, D&E involves dilating a woman’s cervix and then using instruments to dismember and remove a fetus from the uterus.
While a few states have passed bans on dismemberment abortions, they have struggled to survive legal challenges by pro-choice groups.
For example, in November the Oklahoma state Supreme Court blocked the implementation of a 2015 state law banning D&E abortions, ruling 6-2 to issue an injunction against it.
Center for Reproductive Rights Senior Counsel Autumn Katz celebrated the injunction, calling it a victory for “high-quality, evidence-based abortion care.”
“Under this law, doctors would be subject to criminal penalties for providing abortions consistent with the standard of care. This ban was motivated by politics, not medicine, and the Oklahoma Supreme Court recognized that today,” Katz said last month.