Michigan Close To Passing Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

Michigan is close to passing a ban on "partial-birth abortions," which is unnecessary both because the procedure is already banned at the federal level and because the term "partial-birth abortion" is inaccurate anyway.

According to the AP, Michigan conservatives have been trying to pass the partial-birth abortion ban for a while, but were stymied by a Democratic governor. Now that Republican Gov. Rick Snyder (pictured) is in office, they're trying again — and they'll probably succeed. Bills banning the procedure have just passed the state House and Senate, and need to be reconciled before they reach the governor, who is likely to sign the final bill. The House and Senate versions do not include exceptions for the health of the mother, or for cases of rape or incest. They do provide an exception if the procedure is needed to save the mother's life.

Federal law already bans partial-birth abortions, and has since 2007. Supporters of the Michigan bill say their legislation will make it easier to enforce the ban in their state — however, it's not clear that there's ever been a partial-birth abortion in Michigan. Of course, as NPR pointed out all the way back in 2006, it's not completely obvious what a "partial-birth abortion" even is: "both sides [disagree] even on how many procedures take place, at what point in pregnancy, and exactly which procedures the law actually bans." Or, as Dr. Duane Heilbronn Jr. told MLive on Wednesday, "Partial birth abortion is not a technical, medical term. It's a political one." And Michigan's attempt to ban it is pure political theater.

Michigan Lawmakers Advance Abortion Procedure Ban [AP]
State Lawmakers Approve Bans Of Abortion Procedure [Detroit Free Press]
Saginaw Physician Says Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Will Have Little Impact [MLive.com]