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Sides split on expected veto for partial-birth abortion

May 28, 2008

Gov. Jennifer Granholm is expected to veto a ban on partial-birth abortion passed Tuesday by the Michigan House of Representatives.

The Michigan Senate passed the bill on January 22 by a 24-13 vote.

Liz Boyd, a spokeswoman for Granholm, said the governor will veto the bill because it does not address the health of the mother.

“It was a political move and we don’t support it,” Boyd said. “We believe the Legislature should be working on things that matter to people.”

Granholm vetoed similar legislation in 2003.

Rep. Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, said the bill is needed to unify Michigan law with federal policy.

“Any opportunity we can take to eliminate abortion is the right step in my opinion,” Meekhof said.

Rep. Mark Meadows, D-East Lansing, said Michigan’s action on partial-birth abortion is unnecessary.

“It’s a trophy legislation for Michigan Right to Life,” Meadows said. “It was introduced for the sole purpose of accomplishing only a political gain.”

Partial-birth abortion occurs when a baby is delivered until just its head remains in the womb. A sharp object punctures the back of the skull, and the brain is extracted.

Ed Rivet, legislative director for Right to Life of Michigan, said the bill is justified because its language is consistent with the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

“Partial-birth abortion (goes) too far,” Rivet said. “The state can regulate in this area. It’s wrong to kill a baby that’s more born than unborn.”

Rivet said not passing the companion bill which sets sentencing guidelines for violators weakness in the ban’s enforcement.

“I consider myself pro-choice,” said Lindsay Gluf, a human resource management senior.

“I think women have the right to choose to have an abortion or not and that should not be taken away by anyone, including the government.”

The Michigan Department of Community Health released statistics Thursday, indicating an all-time low for abortions in Michigan since state record-keeping began in 1979.

A total of 24,683 abortion procedures were performed in Michigan last year, 3.7 percent lower than 25,636 in 2006, said James McCurtis, spokesmen for the Michigan Department of Community Health.

The department also reported a 49.7 percent decrease in abortions in Michigan since their peak in 1987.

“There are more education and family planning services available, which could be a main reason we are seeing a drop in the rates,” McCurtis said.

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