Partial birth abortion ban garners Senate approval

LANSING — Every day of his life Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof is thankful his birth mother chose adoption rather than having an abortion. That is why Meekhof and colleague Sen. Goeff Hansen sponsored legislation to outlaw partial birth abortion in Michigan.

Senate Bills 160 and 161, which would ban partial birth abortions, were approved Wednesday by the Michigan Senate.

“This issue is particularly important to me because I was adopted as a baby,” said Meekhof, R-West Olive. “Life is precious and it must be defended. I believe one of our duties as senators is to do everything we can to protect life.”

Senate Bill 160, sponsored by Meekhof, would outlaw the practice of partial birth abortion in Michigan, unless determined necessary to save the life of the mother. The bill was modeled after the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hansen’s measure, SB 161, would establish sentencing guidelines for performing or assisting in a partial birth abortion. Individuals convicted of the new felony would face two years in prison.

“These measures will empower our local police departments, county prosecutors, and the Michigan attorney general to enforce this law,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “Moreover, my bill establishes penalties for the individuals who perform or help perform these heinous procedures.”

Meekhof and Hansen say enacting a state ban is vitally necessary because the FBI and U.S. attorneys in charge of enforcing federal law do not have the resources to spend on enforcing the federal partial birth abortion ban.

“Enacting these proposed laws will help ensure that partial birth abortion remains illegal in Michigan regardless of what Congress or the president may do,” Hansen said. “As a father and grandfather, I strongly encourage my colleagues in the House to approve these life-protecting measures.”

SBs 160 and 161 now advance to the House of Representatives for further consideration.