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    Michigan legislature has passed a partial-birth abortion ban, modeled after the federal version of the ban in place since 2003, which makes it illegal for a woman to seek an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless her life is in danger.

    .

    In 2003, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act was passed into law under President George W. Bush. The Act was found unconstitutional in three different district courts (Second, Eighth, and Ninth), but was ultimately upheld in Gonzales v. Carhart in the Supreme Court in 2007.

    State Senator Goeff Hansen, who sponsored the bills, said that it was necessary to duplicate the federal bill to establish sentencing guidelines in the state and to help local police enforce the law. Right to Life of Michigan spokesman Ed Rivet has said that a state law is needed on top of the federal law because prosecutors may not see violators of the law as a priority.

    In Michigan, doctors who are caught performing the procedure illegally are liable for up to two years in prison and $50,000 in fines. Sentencing guidelines for the pregnant woman would make the procedure a felony with two years in jail. The bills allow the procedure if a physician determines that the woman’s life is in danger.

    Amendments proposed by Democrats to allow the procedure in cases of incest or rape were rejected.

    “It is our duty to do everything we can to protect Michigan's children - even the unborn ones - and banning partial birth abortions is a victory for our residents,” said Jon Bumstead, a Republican who voted for the bill. “This legislation protects life while also including safeguards to protect the mother if her life is in peril.”

    Opponents of the ban believe the law is being used as a rallying point for Republicans.

    Shelli Weisburg, legislative director for the ACLU of Michigan, said this to the Huffington Post: "It's a very gruesome thing to talk about, so it really riles up their base. They use this description of a procedure as a basis for getting their people to get invested and give money and call their legislators in ways we can't seem to do on our side, in terms of protecting a person's freedom for medical choice."

    Weisburg believes that Michigan prosecutors will begin to investigate women’s medical records more aggressively, and doctors will be afraid to perform the procedure, which is used typically only used in situations where the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Senator Glenn Anderson said that refusing the health exception “sends a message that the state of Michigan believes politicians, not doctors, know what is best for the health of a woman.”

    Sources:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5168163

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intact_dilation_and_extraction#Partial-birth_abortion

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/26/michigan-partial-birth-abortion-ban_n_982096.html

    http://www.freep.com/comments/article/20110928/NEWS06/110928061/Michigan-lawmakers-approve-abortion-procedure-ban

    http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2011/09/michigan_partial-birth_abortio_1.html

    http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/9125-michigan-legislature-votes-to-ban-partial-birth-abortion

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    Meet your Policy Fellow: Jocelyn Cutean

    Jocelyn Cutean serves as Morality and Family policy correspondent for the Michigan Policy Network. She is a first-year student at Michigan State, majoring in Theatre and English. Jocelyn has experience working on the executive board of the Waterford Chapter Coalition for Youth. She has also piloted a grant funded city wide public service announcement entitled, "It Just Wasn't Worth It" which exposes the repercussions of driving while intoxicated. Jocelyn enjoys art of all forms, from writing to performance.