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NARAL Pro-Choice America
JUNE 9, 2004
6:24 PM
CONTACT:  NARAL Pro-Choice America
David Seldin (202) 973-3032
Kelly Hamilton (517) 327-4707
Michigan Gives Final Passage to Country's Most Far-Reaching New Anti-Choice Law in Recent History
Near-Total Ban on Abortion Presents Direct Challenge to Roe v. Wade

WASHINGTON - June 9 - The Michigan Legislature today enacted the most far-reaching restriction on the right to choose adopted by any state in more than a decade. Under this law – originally known as the Legal Birth Definition Act-- the legislature creates a novel definition of the beginning of human life, based on criteria not recognized by medical professionals.

While the bill’s language is vague and includes terminology that has never appeared in medical literature or usage, experts believe that it could be interpreted to apply beginning in the early weeks of pregnancy – banning all abortions after that point. The new law does not even permit exceptions where women’s health is jeopardized.

Governor Jennifer Granholm vetoed the legislation last year, but anti-choice activists revived the proposal and brought it to final passage through a rarely-used initiative procedure. The law is likely to be the subject of legal challenges, and could well end up before the Supreme Court. Because it affects even first-trimester abortions and contains inadequate protection for women’s health, it could only be upheld by overturning Roe v. Wade.

NARAL Pro-Choice America Interim President Elizabeth Cavendish said: “By using an obscure political process to pass this draconian law, Michigan is forcing a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade – a challenge that could succeed if President Bush is able to add just two new anti-choice judges to the Supreme Court. This bill’s passage underscores yet again the importance of electing a president who will protect a woman’s right to choose.”

Rebekah Warren, Executive Director of MARAL Pro-Choice Michigan said, “Private medical decisions should be made between a woman and her doctor, not by the Michigan Legislature. After years of chipping away at a woman’s right to choose, the anti-choice movement is returning to their ultimate goal of eliminating the right to choose entirely.”


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