The Michigan Legislature voted to ban an abortion procedure performed in the second trimester of pregnancy this week. In both chambers, the vote was down party lines, with all Republicans voting in support of the legislation and all Democrats voting against it.
The bills, HB 4320-4321 and SB 229-230, would criminalize the dilation and evacuation procedure and include criminal charges for doctors who perform the surgery. The bill makes the procedure a felony, punishable by two years in prison or a fine of up to $50,000.
Local representatives spoke out in favor of the bill.
“Allowing this horrible procedure is no different than letting someone murder an innocent child,” Shelby Township State Rep. Douglas Wozniak said in a press release.
Utica State Rep. Diana Farrington also voiced her approval of banning the procedure, saying the plan protected the mother and child. “When children need us, we must support them,” Farrington said in a press release. “As a lawmaker, I have the responsibility to speak up for my community, including those who can’t yet speak for themselves.”
The bill does not hold pregnant women criminally responsible for having the procedure and makes an exception in cases where an abortion is necessary to save the woman’s life.
In 2017, 1,777 abortions of this type were performed in the state of Michigan, accounting for 6.7% of all abortions in the state. During the procedure, a woman’s uterus is dilated and the fetus is removed with a clamp.
Twelve states already have laws banning D&E abortions. The Michigan legislation, known as the “Partial-Birth Abortion and Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act,” is just one of the many bills being introduced across the country that severely restrict or ban access to abortion. Bills from Alabama, Louisiana, and Indiana are directly seeking to challenge Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case that decided women had the constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to veto the bill, saying that the decision to end a pregnancy is one that should be between a woman and her doctor.
The House and Senate versions of the bills will be reconciled in opposite chambers before heading to Whitmer’s desk.