ANSWERING THE QUESTION: WHY HEARTBEAT, WHY NOW IN MICHIGAN?
- WILL PASSING A HEARTBEAT BILL INTERFERE WITH OR WEAKEN ANY MICHIGAN PRE-ROE ABORTION LAW?
The simple answer is NO. Our answer is based on Michigan’s approach to repealing laws that exist on the books. We have a rule in Michigan that says “Repeals by implication will not be indulged in, if there is any other reasonable construct,” and, “The intent to repeal must very clearly appear (in the Bill), and courts will not hold to a repeal if they can find reasonable ground to hold the contrary.” That’s a legal mouthful of language from the courts that says in layman’s terms, your Bill must state very clearly that it intends to replace the existing law. If the clear intent for replacement is not there, a repeal or replacement cannot take place. Heartbeat contains three protective clauses that state that Heartbeat will not replace a stronger law that may exist in Michigan Statute.
It is also worth pointing out that if the argument of Right to Life (RTL) that interfering or weakening existing law is true, the argument works on both bills. No one should pass any prolife legislation, including the Dismemberment Petition RTL is advancing if they right. RTL is saying that Michigan has the nation’s strongest pre-Roe ban on abortion. Based on legal research this is not true. You can reference our White Paper on the subject or any of the numerous research papers that have been written by Dr. Bill Bolin of the Michigan Heartbeat Coalition (MHC) at www.billbolin.net for further information. The MHC team has gone to great lengths to make sure we are incompliance with Michigan Statutory regulations, and we are working with the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) which is one of the most prestigious law firms in the nation. The MHC bill contains the strongest language possible to protect that ban:
“Nothing in this act shall be construed as authorizing an abortion that is illegal under any other provision of State law”, section 14, 15, 322, or 323 of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.14, 750.15, 750.322, and 750.323.” –Michigan Heartbeat Bill
- SHOULD WE SUPPORT HEARTBEAT OR DISMEMBERMENT?
Let me answer with a question, why should we have to choose one piece of legislation over the other? We are blessed to be citizens who live in a state that has two prolife petitions circulating. Our prolife community is strong. Why not sign and support both petitions?Every bill is unique in its impact, and we would never discourage anyone from supporting any prolife bill. Dismemberment is a bill that is great in educating the public about the gruesome reality of abortion. It also serves the prolife community by creating a distinction in the political world.
- COULD THE HEARTBEAT BILL MOVEMENT OVERTURN ROE v. WADE?
The short answer is yes, with other possible options. Perhaps, or it could be used within Roe to greatly restrict Roe. With the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh, experts agree we now have the most favorable Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) we have had in 46 years for a viable challenge to Roe. With the recent rejection of Dismemberment by the Supreme Court, many legal scholars believe Heartbeat is the logical challenge to Roe. Hopefully more prolife judges will be appointed to the SCOTUS in the next two years by our current President. The Eighth Circuit Court of the United States said: “This choice is better left to the states, which might find their interest in protecting unborn children better served by a more consistent and certain marker than viability.”
Over four decades of case law has said that the child in the womb was viewed as a “potential life.” But in Gonzales v. Carhart, for the first time in over 40 years SCOTUS admitted as a finding of fact that instead of a “potentially living” fetus, the baby was recognized as a “living fetus” from the time of a “detectable heartbeat.” Not only is that a finding of fact, it is an undisputed finding of fact. Even those in favor of legal abortion-on-demand agreed with this finding, now recognized for the first time since 1973, by the SCOTUS. The Supreme Court’s current standard permits legal protection of the unborn at the point of viability, an unscientific measurement that relies on guess work and medical equipment available at the place of birth. Heartbeat is the standard medical identifier for determining life in every other situation, why not in the womb? By adjusting the inconsistent measurement of viability to a consistent marker of Heartbeat, something which is no longer in conflict with SCOTUS’s abortion jurisprudence, the Supreme Court can remove the stony heart from Roe v. Wade and replace it with the Heartbeat Protection Law.
Any post-Roe ban on abortion can only come into effect if Roe v. Wade is completely reversed, which means, until then, no unborn child in Michigan is protected by law, as Federal law supersedes State law. The only way that we can legally protect children in the womb in Michigan is by getting Roe overturned or restricted. The ACLJ and other prominent national attorneys agree that The Heartbeat Bill is the best step toward limiting or replacing Roe. The Heartbeat Bill gives the Supreme Court the opportunity to eliminate the moving target of viability and replace viability with a set measurement of the heartbeat as the measurement that determines when life begins by most Americans. Heartbeat would protect most children facing abortion, saving anywhere from 65 to 97% depending on the technology that is used to detect the baby’s cardiac activity.
- THIS IS IMPORTANT: RECENTLY THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES PASSED ON RULING ON DISMEMBERMENT
Why is the Heartbeat Bill so important in Michigan when looking at the recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and Alabama’s dismemberment bill? Our Supreme Court recently decided to not look at Alabama’s dismemberment bill that had become law but was blocked on appeal. By refusing to rule on that version of dismemberment, all additional dismemberment bans have been excluded from consideration by our current SCOTUS at this time. RTL’s confident assertion that their dismemberment ban would survive the scrutiny of SCOTUS and possibly go so far as to impact Roe has been upended. In Michigan our only hope of affecting Roe now is through Heartbeat as, Heartbeat can remove the stony heart of Roe and replace it with the beating heart of the baby.
This late development concerning dismemberment does not change our position of encouraging everyone in Michigan to sign the RTL Dismemberment petition. It is a great educational tool on the atrocity of the abortive practice of D&E (dilation and extraction). Here’s a report on the Alabama ruling: “The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear another abortion case (recently) out of Alabama in a devastating defeat for pro-life advocates and the unborn babies they hope to protect. The Alabama law bans brutal dismemberment abortions that tear nearly fully formed babies’ limb from limb while their hearts are still beating. Alabama lawmakers enacted the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act in 2016, but two abortion businesses and the ACLU sued to stop it. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the law in 2018, and, on Friday, the high court refused to hear an appeal of that decision, according to Politico. Justice Clarence Thomas, the strongest pro-life advocate on the high court, concurred with the decision, but he also argued that the justices should not keep refusing to hear abortion cases, according to ABC News. Justice Thomas seems to be signaling that he wants to see a stronger challenge to Roe. Heartbeat is that contender.
We should also point out that it is a good thing that Michigan’s dismemberment bill is not intended to stop the killing of the unborn. The legislation has a provision written into it that dictates how the baby is to be aborted once the practice of dismemberment is outlawed. The abortionist will be allowed to switch a different method of death and choose the Saline procedure or by injecting poison into the heart of the heart of the baby, inducing cardiac arrest. I find it ironic that the likely method that abortionists will use to kill the child in a late-term abortion will be stopping the heart. Conversely, we say if the heartbeat is detected the baby is protected, using the words of Janet Porter.
The MHC desires to end abortion and not just regulate abortion. Although Heartbeat will not end all abortions on demand, it has the potential of ending 95-97% of all abortions on demand. That means that instead of seeing America end approximately one Million babies’ lives terminated by abortion, the number would be reduced to thirty to fifty thousand. That is quantum leap forward in the fight to end abortion.
The Heartbeat Bill has been crafted to be the arrow that is shot into the heart of Roe. As a bonus, Heartbeat legislation in Michigan grants county prosecutors the authority to defend Heartbeat if the Attorney General of Michigan refuses to enforce Heartbeat when it becomes law. With the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Dismemberment the Heartbeat Bill has a magnified importance.
- MICHIGAN HEARTBEAT COALITION UNITY STATEMENT
MHC has sought and continues to seek unity with everyone within the pro-life movement. Though there has been a difference of strategy we cannot allow that difference to divide us. We are standing at a moment that we have prayed and labored toward for forty-six years. Our SCOTUS is more favorable than ever before toward the issue of life. Our President is fighting for the innocent daily. If ever there was a time to strike a fatal blow to Roe, now is that time!
Even with the recent choice of The Supreme Court to not take up the Dismemberment Ban which had been adjoined by the Circuit Court, MHC supports this measure and is asking everyone to sign the Dismemberment petition. Please join with us and ask every prolife person to sign both the Dismemberment Ban and The Heartbeat Petition, Let’s put all our efforts toward ending abortion in Michigan together. MHC extends this plea for unity to every Prolife group in Michigan!
By Corey Shankleton, Dr. Bill Bolin and Rick Warzywak, Board Members MHC, Position Papers