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Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Michigan Abortion Ban

The US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down yesterday a 2004 Michigan law that aimed to ban some later term abortions. The court upheld the US District Court judge’s opinion, finding that the ban could apply to abortion methods used earlier in pregnancy, even though the ban was only supposed to target intact dilation and extraction abortions. Additionally, the appellate court ruled that the ban would place an undue burden on a woman’s right to choose abortion. Michigan’s ban on what abortion opponents call “partial birth” abortion was broader than the federal abortion ban, which also aims to limit later term abortions and was upheld by the US Supreme Court in April.

In its decision, the court wrote that, had the Michigan legislature modeled its law after a similar Ohio ban, the law would have been upheld. Instead, the court said that Michigan lawmakers “opted to use statutory language that pushed almost every boundary that the Supreme Court has imposed for these types of laws,” the Associated Press reports.

This is the third time in 10 years that Michigan has unsuccessfully attempted to ban this kind of abortion procedure. Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) vetoed the legislation in 2003, but abortion opponents were able to gather enough signatures to pass the law without her approval.

Sources:

Detroit Free Press 6/5/07; AP 6/4/07; New York Times 6/4/07