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Clearing Up Confusion About Heartbeat vs. Dismemberment

On their website and in conversations with many, we’ve heard that the Heartbeat Coalition is misleading people about Right to Life of Michigan’s dismemberment abortion ban, telling people it will not save lives. The Heartbeat Coalition says the heartbeat ban they are working on with their own petition drive will save lives in Michigan. That’s not accurate.

Here’s a couple of quick points explaining why:

  • The heartbeat petition drive is not organized by Right to Life of Michigan and is separate from the petition drive to bypass Governor Whitmer’s veto of the dismemberment abortion ban.
  • Michigan law already bans abortions before and after a heartbeat is detected. Governor Whitmer wants to repeal our existing 100% abortion ban before Roe v. Wade is overturned and it can be fully enforced again.
  • A heartbeat ban can’t go into effect until Roe v. Wade is overturned. Our 100% abortion ban would also then be fully enforceable, making the heartbeat ban irrelevant. A heartbeat ban can never go into legal effect or stop a single abortion in Michigan.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court can use any prolife law to overturn Roe v. Wade, including a dismemberment ban.
  • We fear a pro-abortion judge could abuse the heartbeat ban to stop our 100% abortion ban from being fully enforceable when Roe v. Wade is overturned, keeping abortion legal in the first weeks of pregnancy.
  • Our dismemberment abortion ban would take away the most common late-term abortion procedure and will save lives. There is a legal path for it to be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court if they aren’t ready to overturn Roe v. Wade.
  • Focusing on a dismemberment ban helps us educate Michigan citizens about the violence of abortion, just like the movie Unplanned.

 

Below is an in-depth discussion of this confusion.

Currently, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision blocks significant abortion bans from going into effect. That includes Alabama, Georgia, and other states that have recently signed different bans into law; lower courts strike these laws down using the precedent of Roe v. Wade. A heartbeat bill needs Roe v. Wade to be overturned in order to go into effect.

Michigan is unique. Michigan has a 100% prolife abortion ban already on the books. It bans all abortions except to save the life of mother, including before a heartbeat is detected. The Michigan Supreme Court and lower courts have consistently ruled that our 100% ban is in legal effect, but not fully enforceable because of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. Once Roe v. Wade is gone, our 100% abortion ban goes back into full effect.

There is no practical chance that a conservative U.S. Supreme Court would uphold a heartbeat ban as constitutional while still blocking other abortion laws from taking effect.

A heartbeat ban could never go into legal effect in Michigan or stop a single abortion, because Michigan already has a heartbeat ban, legally speaking. You can’t double-ban something!

Planned Parenthood fears our 100% abortion ban. Governor Whitmer says she wants it repealed as soon as possible. Bills to repeal it have been introduced by pro-abortion state legislators. Even pro-abortion Attorney General Dana Nessel understands our road map to ending abortion in Michigan and wants to stop it.

Despite assurances from the Heartbeat Coalition and their legal advice from outside our state, there is a chance a heartbeat ban could harm our 100% prolife abortion ban. In the hands of a pro-abortion judge arguing that the new law replaces our 100% old law, a heartbeat ban in Michigan could keep abortions legal in the first few weeks of pregnancy after Roe v. Wade is overturned, costing thousands of unborn lives. We don’t like to discourage people who are excited about making a difference, but our view is based on legal advice from constitutional attorneys who are experts with Michigan law.

If you’d like to read some of those legal opinions, please click here and click here.

We’ve tried to explain these facts to the Heartbeat Coalition and their leadership from Ohio and Indiana.

We don’t need a heartbeat ban to end abortion in Michigan! We already have the exact law we need; we just need Roe v. Wade overturned for it to fully work. If there’s no practical chance for a heartbeat bill to go into legal effect, why put our current abortion ban in any danger? The Heartbeat Coalition says their ban will help force the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, but nobody can force the U.S. Supreme Court to take up any case. They can overturn Roe v. Wade using any prolife law once they are ready, including a dismemberment ban, or perhaps the Alabama abortion ban that’s more protective than a heartbeat ban.

We appreciate the prolife fervor of the Heartbeat Coalition’s Ohio and Indiana leadership; the heartbeat ban is a right bill, but for the wrong state. Our appeal to them is to focus their efforts on another state that isn’t in Michigan’s unique legal position. For example, when Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion will remain legal through all nine months of pregnancy in New York, the exact opposite of Michigan. A heartbeat bill in New York could go into legal affect there after Roe v. Wade is overturned and save so many lives. A heartbeat ban can’t legally save a single life here; it only has educational value.

It would be terrible if we botched a golden opportunity before us to educate Michigan citizens directly about the violence of abortion. When people see a video showing how dismemberment abortions work, it changes them. The movie Unplanned has been sweeping the nation because it shows the truth about abortion. This is exactly the right moment to have those conversations.

The Heartbeat Coalition has been confusing people about our dismemberment ban. It’s true a dismemberment ban won’t entirely ban late-term abortions, but it will stop many late-term abortions. The Abortion Industry relies on the dismemberment abortion procedure as the cheapest, quickest method. By using the dismemberment method, it allows them to “donate” the baby’s organs and other body parts for experiments. Taking that barbaric procedure away from them will save lives.

Our dismemberment ban simply adds the definition of the dismemberment abortion procedure to our existing partial-birth abortion ban. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld partial-birth abortion bans as constitutional, even with Roe v. Wade. Our dismemberment abortion ban has a legal path to being upheld in the courts, even if the Supreme Court isn’t ready to overturn Roe v. Wade. If the Supreme Court is ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, Michigan is set to ban all abortions—no heartbeat ban is necessary.

We’re strongly encouraging all prolife people in Michigan to focus on getting our dismemberment ban done by achieving the monumental task of collecting 400,000 signatures. It would be such a waste if we fail in that effort because people were confused and distracted by a separate effort to ban something that’s already banned.

We’ve labored for 52 years to protect Michigan’s 100% abortion ban so that when Roe v. Wade is overturned, we can end all abortions in Michigan, not just abortions after 6 weeks. The end of Roe v. Wade is in sight! Let’s not risk snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Michigan. We can’t lose focus on this out-of-state heartbeat plan from leaders who won’t be here to help pick up the pieces if it works out poorly.

Let’s complete this life-saving task of ending dismemberment abortions by working alongside our long-time Michigan prolife and pro-family allies.

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