LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed into law a state ban on a late-term abortion procedure already prohibited under federal law, a move abortion opponents said was needed to make it easier to prosecute cases in the state.
The approval from the Republican governor, which was expected, could end more than a decade of efforts by anti-abortion activists to get the ban added to state law. Previous attempts were rejected by courts or vetoed by then-Democrat Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
“Under this legislation … medical professional performing this procedure could face up to a $50,000 fine and two years in prison,” said WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick.
Doctors would not be in violation of the new law if they believed the procedure was necessary to save the life of a mother.
Supporters of the Michigan bill say it should survive a legal challenge this time because it mirrors the federal ban. They argue it was important to include a ban in Michigan in case the federal law changes.
Opponents say the federal ban makes the state proposal redundant and unnecessary. Some opponents of the Michigan measure have said it may be vulnerable to legal challenge.
The outlawed procedure typically is used to end pregnancies in the second and third trimesters and involves partially removing the fetus intact from a woman’s uterus and then crushing or cutting its skull to complete the abortion.
Granholm vetoed a similar bill in 2008. She also vetoed a bill in 2004, but hundreds of thousands of voters signed petitions that allowed the bill to become law with only the approval of the Legislature. Federal courts later declared that ban unconstitutional, however, because it also could have prohibited other abortion procedures.
A Michigan law from the 1990s also was eventually overturned by federal courts.
The bill landed on Snyder’s desk after passing by a 75-34 vote in the House and a 29-9 vote in the Senate. The Snyder administration plans to formally file the measure with the Office of the Great Seal on Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.