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GOP leaders say they’d call vote on abortion ban petition-initiated bill

a sign that says "stop abortion now" and another that says "keep abortion legal"
Unsplash/Adobe Stock

Republican leaders in the Legislature say they are ready to adopt a petition-initiated bill to place new restrictions on abortion. They’re waiting for state elections officials to certify that the signatures are valid. The initiative would outlaw the procedure known medically as dilation and evacuation.

House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) says he knows the votes are there because the House has already adopted an almost identical bill.

“This is an that issue we feel strongly about, and should the petitions and signatures be authorized and submitted to us, we fully intend on taking it up again and passing it out of the House chamber," he said.

The Senate Republican leader says Senate adoption is also a near-certainty.

“They can take to the bank that the Michigan Legislature will support the sanctity of life whether the born or the unborn – and we know there are going to be political differences on this," Chatfield said. "We understand the differences of opinion. But we support protecting life and we are going to do everything we can to fight for that this legislative term.”

House Democratic Leader Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills) says her caucus would still fight the ban.

“For 47 years now, we’ve had the ability to make these decisions for ourselves and it’s just not right and we’ll be fighting hard against it,” she said.

If the Legislature does not adopt an initiative, the question goes to voters to decide. The governor cannot veto  a petition-initiated law.

Wednesday was the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that guarantees a woman’s right to decide whether to end a pregnancy. Michigan has an unenforceable statute that outlaws abortion. But Chatfield says he would support any efforts to reinstate the ban if Roe v. Wade is reversed by the court.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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