GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – With Tuesday’s launch of the Michigan Heartbeat Petition, Michigan conservatives are networking across the state to challenge abortion head-on.
“If a heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected” caught on in national social media last year. It is now going viral in Michigan, according to the Heartbeat Coalition.
If passed in Michigan, the total number of Heartbeat law states would be ten.
Stiff Democrat Opposition
However, grassroots pro-lifers face stiff opposition. Planned Parenthood-backed candidates swept Michigan’s state offices in 2018. Since then, both Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel have reaffirmed their opposition to pro-life measures.
Doubling down, Nessel added Michigan to a federal suit against the Trump administration’s “gag rule” to halt Title X referrals for abortion.
In an ironic twist, another action by the Democratic AG may allow for gathering all needed signatures in Michigan’s conservative strongholds. She found the revision of petition rules that the GOP Legislature passed during a lame duck session in 2018 to be unconstitutional. The revision required signatures for any petition to be distributed across all state districts.
Right to Life of Michigan Opposes Heartbeat Law
“The Heartbeat Coalition needs to get buy-in from Michigan Right to Life.” Muskegon County Commissioner Zach Lahring of Ravenna supports the petition, but says Right to Life of Michigan (RTL-MI) thinks that “it will conflict with current legislation banning abortion in Michigan if Roe v. Wade is overturned.”
Michigan is generally understood to have a blanket ban on abortion. However, some deny that current laws would effectively protect the unborn child even if Roe is stopped. They cite court rulings that exempted licensed individuals from the current ban.
So far, RTL-MI opposes the Heartbeat Petition. It has introduced a parallel 2019 citizens petition for a dismemberment ban. The group maintains its position of waiting for Roe v. Wade to be struck down.
“This is a winnable war”
“This is a winnable war,” Commissioner Lahring told The Ohio Star, speaking for himself. “I ran my campaign on evicting Planned Parenthood from the Muskegon County Health Department.” Reports state the organization closed its doors there on Friday, June 28.
With the launch of this petition drive, the Michigan Heartbeat Coalition commits to collect up to 500,000 signatures. Under Michigan’s Constitutional provisions, 340,000 valid voter signatures are needed to replace governor approval.
Petitions are available for pick-up across the state on request.
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Abigail Nobel is a reporter at Battleground State News.