LANSING – A voting measure to ban doctors from performing the dilation and evacuation procedure, or D&E procedure, will not go through the November ballot.
In June, the Michigan Elections Office found that the citizens’ initiative did not have the required number of valid signatures to be on the November ballot. Right to Life of Michigan, the group behind Michigan’s Values Life petition, announced Tuesday that it will not dispute the finding.
“Instead of focusing on legal challenges regarding the counting process, we will focus on the crucial 2020 election,” Barbara Listing, president of Right to Life of Michigan said in a statement.
The measure would have made it a crime for a doctor to perform D&E. In 2018, about 7% of abortions in Michigan involved dilation and evacuation, which is typically used for abortions after the 14th week of pregnancy. It involves a combination of suction and manual extraction of the fetus and is usually performed during the second trimester of pregnancy.
The group submitted 380,000 signatures, but the office said it was missing 7,276 valid signatures, based on a review of a sample of 500 signatures.
Michigan’s Planned Parenthood Chapter pointed to the large number of votes in 2018 as one reason Michigan Values Life couldn’t get enough signatures. The increased voter turnout forced the group to collect more signatures than in previous years.
“Today is a victory for every doctor and patient in Michigan, and for every person who has been forced to undergo traumatic procedures because bad laws passed by politicians backed by Right to Life demanded it.” said Lori Carpentier, president of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan. and CEO in a press release.
“No more. The days of the right to life that dictated medical care in Michigan are over, and we couldn’t be happier to be the ones saying it,” she said.
Listing acknowledged the increased signature requirement, calling it “the biggest hurdle”. But there were other factors as well. She pointed out a competing prolife petition that she said “confuse people” and retrain volunteers for the new petitions law which was recently enacted. In the end, the group missed the number of signatures they wanted to send.
“Our volunteers did a great job, but most of the mistakes were things beyond our control, especially people not knowing their voter registration status or forgetting that they had already signed the petition,” Listing said.
“Because we were about 20,000 signatures below our target of 400,000, we gave way to Planned Parenthood to go our separate ways.”
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