LANSING, (AP) — Abortion opponents said yesterday they
have enough petition signatures to send a bill that would outlaw a
certain abortion procedure back to the state Legislature.

The initiative is aimed at resurrecting a bill that would define
the moment a person is legally born as being when any part of a
fetus is expelled from a woman’s body.

It is intended to ban what abortion opponents call partial-birth
abortion. The procedure is known medically as “intact
dilation and extraction,” or D&X.

The bill won approval in the state House and Senate last year,
but Gov. Jennifer Granholm vetoed it. She said it didn’t
include an exception for the health of the mother and added that
the way the bill defined life could make it apply to
first-trimester abortions.

The bill’s sponsors have said the language in the proposal
addresses the health of the mother.

The petition-gathering effort, called “The People’s
Override,” has gathered more than 325,000 signatures, Right
to Life of Michigan said.

The effort would need to collect 254,206 valid petition
signatures by May 26 to return the bill to the state House and
Senate where it would take a simple majority vote for approval.

It would not need the governor’s signature to take
effect.

“It sends a strong message to Gov. Granholm about where
the people of Michigan stand,” Right to Life spokeswoman Pam
Sherstad said.

The petition drive will continue until April 5, Right to Life
said. The petition likely will be submitted in mid-April to the
Secretary of State’s office where it will be reviewed.

Abortion rights advocates are expected to challenge the measure
in court if it becomes law.

“We have already filed two lawsuits on similar
issues,” said Kary Moss, executive director of the American
Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

“We’re certainly willing to file a third if this
legislation is passed.”

NARAL Pro-Choice America spokesman David Seldin said yesterday
the bill as written could be interpreted as a total ban on
abortion.

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