If the Secretary of State’s Bureau of Elections certifies the petition signatures, the legislature has 40 days to consider the initiative.
The Republican-controlled House and Senate separately passed their own versions of a similar ban on a vote split along party lines. However, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, had promised to veto the bill.
If the legislature supports the proposal, the initiative would bypass the veto threat and automatically become law, the Detroit Free Press reports. If the legislature does nothing, it would go on the ballot for the 2020 general election.
In Colorado, the group Due Date Too Late has organized a petition drive to put on the 2020 ballot a 22-week abortion ban. The ban exempts abortions that in a doctor’s judgement are an immediate threat to a woman’s life.
The group must collect over 124,000 signatures by March 4 in order to qualify for the ballot. They must then secure a majority of the vote in the general election for the initiative to become law.
The initiative has the support of Catholic bishops in Colorado, who have granted permission to pastors in every Catholic church in Colorado to allow trained petitioners to ask for signatures at their church.
Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver in his Oct. 9, 2019 column lamented that Colorado has “some of the least restrictive abortion laws in the country.” He urged all Catholics to become involved in the effort to limit abortion in the state.
Pennsylvania legislators have also proposed a new regulation requiring medical facilities to “cremate or inter the fetal remains” from miscarriages or abortions.
Such rules have new prominence after authorities discovered more than 2,400 fetal remains kept at the properties of a deceased retired abortionist who worked at three Indiana clinics.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, a Republican, said in a December 2019 report that the case “exemplifies the need for strong laws to ensure the dignified disposition of fetal remains.”
Glenn said the average citizen can advance pro-life legislation by calling their local legislators and Members of Congress to express support for these issues.
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“If you are able, show up in person and testify on a bill. You do not have to be a lawyer, and some of the most moving testimony I have ever heard is from people who just care deeply about their community.”
Success in state and federal courts is also imperative to the progress of pro-life initiatives.
There are currently dozens of pending court cases on abortion-related issues including medical safety standards and free speech rights of pro-life advocates. There are also direct challenges to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 precedent which helped mandate legal abortion nationwide.
Glenn said the biggest legal case in 2020 is June Medical Services v. Gee, which the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear in March. The case concerns Louisiana requirements that doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of their abortion facility.
“The Gee decision may impact some of these, but we expect that the Supreme Court and the lower courts will keep regularly hearing abortion lawsuits in the near future,” she said.
Amid speculation that the U.S. Supreme Court could change federal precedent on abortion, backers of legal abortion are working to defend their position at the state level.