ACLU Prepared to Fight Anti-Choice Initiative

December 11, 2003

DETROIT – After anti-choice groups filed their language with the Board of Canvassers today for a citizen’s initiative to ban so-called “partial birth abortion,” the ACLU of Michigan announced today that it is prepared to take this issue to court again, if necessary.

“The initiative is an end-run around Governor Granholm’s effort to protect women’s reproductive rights in Michigan,” said Kary Moss, ACLU of Michigan Executive Director. “This effort to eliminate all abortions, like all the legislation before it, remains unconstitutional.  Medical decisions should still only be made by a woman in consult with her physician.”

Right to Life and the Catholic Conference are driving the petition initiative after SB 395, the "legal birth definition act," passed the House and Senate, but was vetoed by the Governor in October.  Like the previous two Michigan bills, successfully challenged by the ACLU in federal courts, SB 395 contained no health exception. 

A citizen initiative requires collecting, in a 180-day period, an amount of valid signatures equal to or greater than 8 percent of the number of people who voted in the most recent gubernatorial election.  The signatures would then be submitted to the Legislature.  A majority of both houses is all that is needed to approve the constitutional amendment and it is not subject to a gubernatorial override.

“Considering the current heavily Right-to-Life endorsed legislature, there is little doubt that the citizen’s initiative will pass the legislature and become part of the Michigan Constitution,” Moss added. “Every signature on a petition is akin to a vote – the ACLU of Michigan urges citizens to refuse to sign the petition.” 

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