New bill in Michigan Legislature would ban abortion after first heartbeat

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LANSING (WJRT) (5/23/2019) - A bill introduced into the Michigan Legislature on Thursday would ban abortions after a baby's heartbeat is detected.

The bill from State Rep. Steve Johnson, a Republican from Wayland, would take an abortion ban passed in the Legislature last week another step further.

“A heartbeat is a universal indicator of life,” Johnson said. “It’s time we be a voice for the voiceless and uphold our constitutional duty to protect and defend the sanctity of human life.”

Seven other states have approved a ban on fetal abortions after a heartbeat is detected. Johnson's bill comes amid a national wave of laws proposed to curtail abortion in several states.

The Republican-led Michigan Legislature voted last week to ban a second trimester abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has said she will veto the bill.

RELATED: Michigan Legislature votes to ban abortion procedure

Right to Life and the Michigan Heartbeat Coalition filed paperwork in Lansing this week to begin statewide petition drives to put abortion bans on the ballot as a citizen initiative.

Right to Life's proposal would ban the common second trimester abortion procedure while the Michigan Heartbeat Coalition would ban abortions after the first heartbeat is detected.

If the groups get 340,000 signatures from registered Michigan voters, the proposed law would go back to the Legislature. Lawmakers could approve it without Whitmer's signature or put it up for a statewide vote.

“It’s time for us to join the national movement and stand in defense of the defenseless,” Johnson said. “Protecting unborn children with beating hearts ensures Michigan is doing its part in helping to overturn Roe v. Wade.”

House Bill 4664 has been referred to the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee. The bill would have to pass the committee, full House, Senate and get a signature from Whitmer before it becomes law.