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From our State Capitol in Lansing to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, WKAR is committed to explaining how the actions of lawmakers are affecting Michiganders. Political and government reporter Abigail Censky leads this section. There are also stories from Capitol correspondents Cheyna Roth, Rick Pluta and the Associated Press. As the 2020 presidential race begins, look here for reports on the role Michigan will play in electing or re-electing the president.

GOP Leaders Say They’d Call Vote On Abortion Ban Law

Michigan House of Representatives

Republican leaders in the Legislature say they are ready to adopt a petition-initiated bill to place new restrictions on abortion.

The leaders are waiting for state elections officials to certify the petition signatures are valid. The initiative would outlaw the procedure known medically as dilation and evacuation.

House Speaker Lee Chatfield said he knows the votes are there because the House has already adopted an almost identical bill. 

“This is an issue that we feel strongly about, and should the petitions and signatures be authorized and submitted to us, we fully intend on taking it up again and passing it out of the House chamber.” Said Chatfield.

With GOP majorities in the House and Senate, approval appears almost certain. A petition-initiated law could not be vetoed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. But abortion rights groups say they would file a legal challenge if the initiative is enacted into law.

House Democratic Leader Christine Greig said  her caucus would still fight the ban. 

“For 47 years now, we’ve had the ability to make these decisions for ourselves and it’s just not right and we’ll be fighting hard against it.” Greig said.

If the Legislature does not adopt an initiative, the question goes to voters to decide.

Wednesday is the anniversary of the U-S Supreme Court’s Roe versus Wade decision that guarantees a woman’s right to decide whether to end a pregnancy. Michigan has an unenforceable statute that outlaws abortion. But Chatfield says he would support any effort to reinstate the ban if Roe versus Wade is reversed by the court.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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