Anti-abortion ballot drives to start soon in Michigan

PHOTO: Person filling out a ballot, Photo Date: August 15, 2016
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LANSING, MI (AP) -- Groups backing two anti-abortion ballot drives in Michigan are poised to begin gathering signatures after clearing procedural steps.

The bipartisan Board of State Canvassers on Tuesday approved 100-word summaries that will appear atop the petitions.

They also OK'd the petition forms.

One measure would prohibit abortion at the detection of a fetal heartbeat, except if the mother faces a serious health risk.

Another measure would ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation -- which critics call "dismemberment -- except to save the mother's life.

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, "Our affiliates and volunteers around the state are excited we're able to begin collecting signatures to end this barbaric procedure in Michigan." Michigan Values Life is the name of the committee Right to Life of Michigan organized to collect signatures to initiate the legislation into the Michigan Legislature

Abortion-rights advocates opposed how officials wrote the summaries, calling some wording "intentionally provocative" and misleading.

The board made one change but otherwise backed the language.

The initiatives could be enacted by the Republican-led Legislature without the signatures of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

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