Michigan legislature passes bills to criminalize dismemberment abortion, Whitmer promises veto

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 - 3:34pm

The Michigan Senate and House of Representatives passed nearly identical bills criminalizing the abortion procedure “dilation and evacuation

The Michigan Senate and House of Representatives passed nearly identical bills criminalizing the abortion procedure “dilation and evacuation Buy this photo
Annie Klus/Daily

On Wednesday, both the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives passed nearly identical bills criminalizing the abortion procedure “dilation and evacuation,” also known as D&E, or dismemberment. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, D&E abortions typically occur after 13 weeks of pregnancy. MDHHS reported 1,777 D&E abortions were performed in 2017.

The bills would impose a two-year felony and possible $50,000 fine for anyone performing D&E abortions — not the women. The bills do not outline exceptions under extenuating circumstances such as rape or incest. However, there are exceptions for situations in which the life of the mother is concerned.

Because the House and Senate passed different bills, they will need to reconvene to remedy any discrepancies before a final version is presented to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Whitmer posted to social media, vowing she would veto the bill.

The legislature knows that I will not sign any laws that deprive women of bodily autonomy, so right now, they are just wasting time on the taxpayers dime,” Whitmer wrote.

This legislation comes after Attorney General Dana Nessel announced in April she would not prosecute what may become illegal abortions, should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

Chris Gast, director of communication and education at Right to Life of Michigan, said if Whitmer vetoes the bill, his group plans to petition for a ballot drive. If they gather enough signatures, the issue will be put on the ballot in the 2020 elections. The number of required signatures has not yet been announced, however a bill passed in December 2018 made ballot drives more difficult by putting geographic restrictions on the necessary signatures.