WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear an attempt to revive a Michigan law banning the procedure opponents call partial-birth abortion.
Abortion foes said they would revisit the issue in Lansing this year and hoped to advance legislation mirroring the federal ban on the procedure that was signed into law by President Bush in 2003.
“There will be a strong bipartisan support in both chambers to clear the bills,” said Ed Rivet, legislative director for Right to Life of Michigan. “If there’s any question, it will be what the governor might decide to do with the bill.”
The justices did not comment on their decision to let stand a ruling in June by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The appeals court said the law is unconstitutional because it also could prohibit other abortion procedures.
A Michigan law on the so-called partial birth procedure has been struck down three times – federal courts also rejected the laws in 1997 and 2001.
Abortion rights’ groups said they were pleased with the court’s move, calling it another step in protecting the reproductive rights of women.
“We are hopeful that the Michigan legislature will get the message: stop endangering women’s health and start respecting women’s private health care decisions,” said Brigitte Amiri, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.
Liz Boyd, a spokeswoman for Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-Mich.), who vetoed the measure in 2004, said they had not reviewed any pending legislation. Boyd said it was too early to speculate on a new approach.
“The governor remains committed to working in a bipartisan way to prevent unwanted pregnancies and to remove barriers to adoption,” Boyd said.
Matt Frendewey, a spokesman for Republican Attorney General Mike Cox, noted that the decision did not affect the federal ban. Frendewey said Cox supported the pending legislation because it was based on the federal statute supported by the Supreme Court.
In April, the Supreme Court upheld the federal law signed by Bush banning the abortion method, saying the law is constitutional despite not including an exception that would allow the procedure if necessary to preserve a woman’s health.
The high court’s decision left untouched the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling in which the court established abortion rights.
The outlawed procedure typically is used to end pregnancies in the second and third trimesters and involves partially removing the fetus intact from a woman’s uterus and then crushing or cutting its skull to complete the abortion.