Michigan Catholic Conference supports petition to end dismemberment abortion
A citizen’s initiative petition drive to prohibit the dismemberment abortion procedure in Michigan began in July. Dismemberment abortion is a particularly gruesome procedure that deserves no place in civilized society. It involves tearing a live baby apart limb by limb inside the womb and individually removing each of its body parts. This petition drive, operating under a committee named Michigan Values Life, is organized by Right to Life of Michigan and is supported by the Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC). We are presenting this information about the petition drive to encourage parishioners to coordinate petition drives, and to ask everyone to sign a petition.
In order to propose a ban on dismemberment abortion to the Michigan Legislature, the signatures of approximately 340,047 registered voters must be gathered within 180 days of July 26. The goal is to gather 400,000 signatures throughout the summer and early fall.
Michigan has a long-standing ban on abortion, which is not fully enforced as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. Because of that, any pro-life legislation must be carefully evaluated to ensure that it will not weaken or repeal the state’s existing ban on abortion. Michigan has the longest existing and, some say, the strongest pro-life law in the country. Since 1846, Michigan law has banned all abortions. The state’s current abortion ban went into effect in 1931, providing an exception only to save the life of the mother. Following the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, the 1931 ban was upheld by the Michigan Supreme Court, within the parameters of Roe, and continues to ban abortions post-viability. Therefore, Michigan’s complete ban on abortion will go back into effect if Roe is overturned.
The Michigan Values Life initiative must not be confused with a second petition drive also taking place – Michigan Heartbeat Coalition – which would ban abortion after cardiac activity is detectable. The MCC has serious concerns with this proposal. The measure could liberalize Michigan’s existing abortion laws and weaken the complete ban on abortion that remains in Michigan law (and which would become fully enforceable if Roe v. Wade is overturned). Michigan Heartbeat Coalition is not supported by MCC or Right to Life of Michigan.
How can my parish participate in the petition drive to end dismemberment abortion?
Parishes are able to participate in the petition drive in several ways:
• Collect signatures before/after Mass, setting aside a couple of weekends to have petition gatherers present before/after each Mass.
• Set up tables to gather signatures at special events.
• Include announcements about the Michigan Values Life initiative and/or insert Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) position statement or factsheets in the bulletin.
• Share information on the parish’s social media about the Michigan Values Life initiative.
Where can I order End Dismemberment Abortion petition forms?
Petitions and other materials can be requested directly through MichiganValuesLife.org or by calling Right to Life at 616.532.2300. Petitions must not be photocopied, downloaded or printed. All petitions must be original documents obtained from Michigan Values Life.
Where can I find more resources?
Additional, MCC-specific information on the End Dismemberment Abortion ban is available here: micatholic.org/michiganvalueslife. The website also includes explanation of the concerns with the Michigan Heartbeat Coalition’s petition initiative.
I want to circulate End Dismemberment Abortion petitions and gather signatures. What should I be aware of?
• Complete petition instructions are available at the Michigan Values Life website: michiganvalueslife.org/petition-instructions.
• Remember that registered voters may sign the petition only once.