Sorting Through Pro-Life Petitions in Michigan This Summer6 min read

We have a unique opportunity in Michigan to take a stand for Life by signing and distributing the Petition for the Dismemberment Abortion Ban. This is a particularly barbaric and gruesome procedure that ends the life of a baby in the womb. If the necessary signatures are gathered, this bill has a good likelihood of being upheld and withstanding a court challenge. We are encouraging all people who value the dignity and sanctity of human life to sign this. There is some confusion, however, with another petition going around that does not have the backing of Right To Life of Michigan. This is the Heartbeat Bill. We share with those involved in this petition our common love and respect for a baby’s life; however, this bill would not likely be enacted as long as the Roe V. Wade Supreme Court Decision stands. Even more importantly, if Roe is reversed, as we pray that it will be, this bill is not necessary in Michigan and may even weaken protection for the unborn, since it only prohibits abortions once the heartbeat is detected. Michigan already has a superior law on the books that prohibits all abortions from the moment of conception. If Roe falls, this statute would immediately be in effect. Hopefully, the following article written by Rev. Dennis Matyas further helps you to understand why Right To Life of Michigan and other groups are mainly pursuing the Dismemberment Abortion Ban Petition. —Pastor Paul Clark, President, Lutherans For Life of Michigan and Michigan District Life Coordinator  

Trigger warning: this article contains graphic imagery regarding a particular type of abortion called Dilation and Evacuation Abortion (D & E).

Right To Life of Michigan is in the midst of a petition drive to end Dismemberment abortions in Michigan. You may remember the ban on partial birth abortion that Gov. Snyder signed in 2011. You may know that the Michigan Heartbeat Coalition is organizing a petition drive to ban all abortions after a heartbeat is detected, similar to what has been signed in Georgia and Alabama. What you may not know, however, is that Michigan already has a law that bans all abortions (unless to preserve the life of the mother). It is MCL 750.14, signed in 1846 when the state itself was less than a decade old, and remained a firm precedent several times afterwards. Essentially, MCL 750.14 makes it a felony for any doctor to willfully use whatever means to produce a miscarriage, and if the woman dies as a result it becomes manslaughter.

Then came Roe v. Wade in 1973, which superseded the state law. Now here’s the tricky part: if the Heartbeat bill is successful and goes into law in Michigan, it will be immediately enjoined (a legal term meaning “basically useless”). If Roe is overturned with the heartbeat bill in effect, the heartbeat bill may supersede the 1846 ban and make pre-heartbeat abortions legal in Michigan. Current estimates by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHS) place 50–78% of abortions occurring before 9 weeks, and that does not even include abortifacients like the morning-after pill and birth control pills, which cannot be accurately tracked.

Let me say that again, because this blew my mind: If and when Roe v. Wade is overturned (because it’s a garbage law based tenuously on the fourteenth amendment), all abortions would be illegal in Michigan automatically. If, however, there were said heartbeat bill, then if and when Roe v. Wade were overturned, 50–78% of abortions performed would still be legal in Michigan (if, as I said, the heartbeat law superseded the 1846 ban).

Pick your jaw up. What an interesting time we live in, when an anti-abortion petition could actually shoot the cause for life in its own foot.

Right To Life’s Petition

Enter Right To Life of Michigan, which is an extremely well organized and successful pro-life organization. It has put together a different petition, one that would not supersede the original ban should Roe be overturned, and one that would go into effect immediately without being enjoined and without the ability for the governor to veto it (and she has pledged to veto all pro-life bills).

The petition bans the procedure of dismemberment. (You can access a detailed description here, and a quick-sheet here.) Basically, in a D & E procedure, the cervix is manually dilated over the course of a couple days. The abortionist then reaches into the womb with a long, toothed clamp and grabs onto the baby. The baby’s body parts are then ripped off piece by piece and the uterus scraped. The body parts are reassembled like a puzzle on the table to make sure there are no parts left over to rot and infect the mother. The body parts are then either thrown in the trash or (at least until September of 2018 when the Department of Health and Human Services terminated its contract with Advanced Bioscience Resources) sold for scientific testing.

Around 1,770 Dismemberment abortions are performed in Michigan each year (see statistics here), assisting abortion’s boastful claim as the number one cause of death in the Great Lakes State. That’s 4-5 babies per day having their limbs ripped off while our countrymen celebrate a woman’s “right to choose”.

Are you a registered voter in Michigan? Do you believe that dismembering a baby piece-by-piece as he bleeds to death in his mother’s womb should be illegal?

Sign the petition. Request a Dismemberment Abortion Petition at Michigan Values Life or track one down by contacting Right to Life of Michigan affiliates in your area and find out where and when you can sign the petition.

What can we do as the church? Here’s another quick-sheet with some legalities.

I am blessed to be a pastor of God-fearing people who love the Word of God. So here’s what I’m doing in that role: I have two volunteers that set up tables at both church entrances. I have been quite vocal about our vocation as Christians to protect those who cannot protect themselves. That petition will be in our church until either the requisite signatures are met or the legal petition time allotted is expired.

You can do the same.

If every Lutheran church in the Michigan District made the petition available, the drive would be over in a week.

May the God of life, who formed us all in the womb, guard and protect us in Jesus Christ. Amen.

Photo (c) jchizhe/iStock

Rev. Matyas has produced an 8-minute video to share.

For more information, please go to or or contact Rev. Paul Clark at or 517.420.4826.

Updated Detroit News article: Group to submit signatures to ban abortion procedure before Christmas

If your ministry or church is setting up a date/time to collect signatures, please contact Debby Fall to add to a list of locations across Michigan.

Petition Signing Locations

Immanuel, Alpena

St. Paul, Bay City

Our Shepherd, Birmingham

Faith, Bridgeport

Shepherd of the Lakes, Brighton

St. Mark’s, Brooklyn  

Messiah, Carrollton

Lamb of God, Flint (sign the petition and pick up copies)

St. Peter, Hemlock

Redeemer, Jackson

East Ida Immanuel, Monroe

Trinity, Muskegon

Bethlehem, Saginaw

Peace, Saginaw

Christ Our King, Saline



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About the Author

Rev. Dennis W. Matyas serves St. Paul, Bay City (Frankenlust) and as a member of the Michigan District Board of Directors (North & East Region). He and his wife, Valerie, have four children.

More by This Author

Steven Barron - July 30, 2019

Praying for success in this petition drive.

Judith C. Pflug - July 30, 2019

Christ Our King in Saline has been encouraging members to sign the petition and Judy and Mark Pflug have gathered 100 signatures at the church doors with full Support from our Pastors – Tom Schroeder and Don Kirchhoff on the last two Sundays in July. Judy and Mark are also taking petitions to M.O.S.T. headquarters in Ann Arbor and would be glad to assist in any way other individuals or churches in the Ann Arbor area for more direction or to answer questions.

Barb Rudick - July 31, 2019

We have petitions at Trinity, Muskegon

Barb Rudick

Rev. Mark Pretznow - August 29, 2019

Lamb of God-Flint has Petitions to sign as well as extras to distribute. May the LORD guide the powers that be to end all forms of abortion, and especially Partial Birth Abortion

Pastor Mark Pretznow

Jessica Merz - September 1, 2019

God have mercy on those of us who have put this off. Thank you to those of you who have been instrumental in getting the rest of us to act.
God’s blessings,