Group ends drive to ban abortion method in Michigan


UNDATED (WOOD) — Right to Life of Michigan is giving up its petition drive to ban a certain type of abortion.

The organization said in a Tuesday release that it would not challenge the state Board of Elections’ determination that it had not gathered enough valid signatures.

The petition needed a little more than 340,000 signatures. While it submitted some 380,000, the Board of Elections said last month that too many were invalid to meet the threshold.

In a statement, Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said many signatures were deemed invalid “due to errors and petition damage like small tears and stains.” She said a lot of the errors were things like signees not knowing their voter registration status or accidentally signing twice.

She also said the project faced “unprecedented battles” like new petition drive law, another anti-abortion petition that confused people and, key, a large signature requirement because of high 2018 election turnout.

She said the organization will shift its focus to the 2020 elections.

The petition would have required the Michigan Legislature to take up a bill outlawing dilation and evacuation abortions, which Right to Life refers to as “dismemberment abortions.” The Republicans who control the Legislature already passed such a ban in 2019, but Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, vetoed it. If the petition had succeeded, Whitmer would not have been allowed a veto.

According to the state, there were more than 27,300 abortions in Michigan in 2019, an about 2% increase over 2018 but a more than 44% decrease from 1987, when the number of abortions was at its highest. Dilation and evacuation accounts for about 7% of abortions in Michigan.

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