Senate panel approves Meekhofs abortion ban legislation

LANSING –Legislation making it a felony in Michigan law for a physician to perform a partial birth abortion was approved Tuesday by a Senate panel, said sponsor Senator Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive.

“This is one more step in the right direction toward banning a brutal and unnecessary practice in Michigan,” said Meekhof.  “I am grateful to my colleagues for taking up this important piece of legislation.  The ban on partial birth abortions is long overdue.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 160 by a vote of 3-1.  The committee also took approved Senate Bill 161 sponsored by Senator Goeff Hansen, R-Hart.  SB 161 prescribes sentencing guidelines for those violating the partial birth abortion ban.  SB 160 is tie-barred to SB 161.

Legislation to ban the practice of partial birth abortions has been introduced before in the form of the “Legal Birth Definition Act” which was vetoed by former Governor Jennifer Granholm.  A ban was later enacted through a citizens’ petition drive that was ultimately ruled unconstitutional by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Senate Bill 160 is modeled after the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 and meets the legal standards upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The bill must now go before the full Senate for further consideration.